The South Metope XXIX from the Parthenon Marbles held at the British Museum is a rectangular relief sculpture measuring approximately 1.60 m tall and 1.27 m wide. It's fabricated from Pentelic marble of high-quality, the surface of which has experienced weathering and damage over many centuries.

The Metope presents a scene from the mythological battle between the Lapiths, human inhabitants of Thessaly, and the Centaurs, hybrid creatures part human, part horse. Captured mid-conflict, a Centaur is depicted in motion to the left, while a kneeling Lapith is positioned on the right. Despite the combat depicted, elements of Classical Greek formalism are evident in the balanced and proportioned characters.

In regards to sculptural detailing, the figure’s muscular forms and intricate drapery are features that align with the technical skill and preoccupation with physical perfection often noted in Greek sculpture. Here, the emotional intensity of the scene is conveyed more through the juxtaposition of static and dynamic forms than through facial expression, a common characteristic of this stylistic period.

Historically, this Metope is one of 92 from the Parthenon, an Athenian temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, constructed circa 447-432 BC. Serving as part of the Doric frieze above the outer colonnade of the temple, these metopes were key features in communicating societal and religious narratives to both literate and illiterate citizens of the time.

British Museum
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece