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Royal Museum ofScotland. Edinburgh The smoothed outpiece ofstone which getsthis exhibition onyprustreasures offtoa7000 yearold start. almost never made it. Forsome years itsat in ahallholdingthevisitingcardsofa collectorofantiguitieswhowasguite unaware ofits value and age. Itmight stillbe inthe house ofthatcollector's daughterhad DrVassos Karageorghis from Cyprus notspied itashewas leavingandrecognised itas Neolithic. That was 1975. The bowl had lain unacknowledged in Aberdeenfor65 years.

Onthiskind ofevidencethe chances ofaman-madeobjectsurviving7000 years mustbe slimmerthan slim. Whenitdoes. an oldstonebowl becomesamarvel. asurvivorof civilisation carrying important information intothefuture. This exhibitionisacelebrationofsurvivors from Cyprus the small island in the Mediterraneanwherethegoddess Aphrodite was created.

Withoutfalling into high-techor kitschthe museurnhas exhibited these ancientarts onyprus in island-evokingstyle. Blue and bright white mimicthe sea. sky andvillages. Thereisamock—uparchaeologicaldig which asks youtoguesswhata group of foundations couldbelthe experts havn'taclueyetlandadarktomb. bones andjars all placedastheylay.

Mostenthrallingthough isthe advance olclay models and pots

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through thousands of years. There is

the Lemba Lady (affectionately known

bythe experts as Mabel. an anagram of

Lembal. a powerful spirit with wide phallic neck but otherwise female attributes. There are red-orange pots decorated with dancing patterns and tiny jugs with pouring animals.

Scotland has long been connected ith Aphrodite's island and indeed

Edinburgh University is still there digging and restoring its buried treasure. These objects may not shine like the Pharaohs" gold. but theirjoyful charm reflects a down—to—earth philosophy with warmth and vitality. (Alice Bainl

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Contemporary Art (ilaw by leading British and International Class L‘kr‘iista

New Work by Peter Layton April 25 —May :7

Monday Saturday ll)am-3.f§l)pm 478 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HT Tel: 031 220 1303

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