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Under the inspiration of classical tradition, a succession of female figures came to personify America in the 18th and 19th centuries. These included the images of an Indian Princess, a Neoclassical goddess of Liberty (derived from the French figure of Liberty), and Columbia, seen here. Depicted as a regal figure, Columbia usually appears in flowing garments, wearing a laurel wreath, tiara, or liberty cap. She holds the shield of Minerva, the Roman goddess noted for her martial prowess, which is decorated with the American stars and stripes. This sculpture was probably carved in a New York, Philadelphia, or Boston shop. Although oral tradition points to a maritime history for this sculpture, it was more likely an architectural figure for a public building such as a courthouse.
height 69 in, width 21 in, 19 in