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caryatid

Source:
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms
Author(s):

Michael Clarke

caryatid 

A sculptured female figure used as a column to support an entablature. The term carytades derives from Vitruvius (fl. c.50–26 bc), who believed the female figures of the Erechtheion in Athens represented Carian prisoners. ‘Caryatid’ is also used more generally (and incorrectly) to describe columns or pilasters wholly or partly in the shape of the human form.