One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of ancient Greek sculpture) overlaid with gold and ivory.
- ‘The intrinsic value of the materials employed predominates in the earlier model: the value of plate at an Athenian symposium, or the value of gold and ivory in the chryselephantine statues by Phidias.’
- ‘The central part of the temple, called the cella, sheltered the famous chryselephantine cult statue of Athena, made by Pheidias.’
- ‘In ancient Greek sculpture gold leaf might have been included in chryselephantine sculpture, as well as applied over an entire figure.’
- ‘A chryselephantine figure of Zeus sat on a jewel-encrusted throne carrying a small figure of Nike in his left hand, a scepter in his right.’
- ‘The Hera is described by Pausanias, but no secure copies of her survive, presumably because antiquity rated her inferior to the great chryselephantine statues of Phidias.’
Early 19th century: from Greek khruselephantinos, from khrusos ‘gold’ + elephas, elephant- ‘elephant’ or ‘ivory’.
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