The South Metope II from the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum is a 5th century BCE fragment of High Classical Greek architecture from the Parthenon in Athens. It is a carved marble block, or 'metope', situated between two triglyphs in a Doric frieze. Composed of Pentelic marble, its dimensions are approximately 1.2 meters in height, 1.27 meters in width, and 0.03 meters in depth. The stone has a pale color with remnants of red pigmentation, indicative of a past polychromatic design that has diminished over the centuries.

The relief carving on the metope presents a combat scene involving a Centaur, a mythical creature with the upper part of a human and the lower half of a horse, and a Lapith, a character from Greek mythology. The depiction of nude figures rationalizes Greek canonical anatomy, typical of the era's artistic approach.

In the relief, the Lapith warrior is portrayed in the act of spearing the rearing Centaur, seizing its head with force. The Centaur is represented with an open mouth, expressing pain—an aspect characteristic of the period's naturalistic style. The demonstration of anatomical detail, cloth movement, and the action effect exemplifies the superior skill of Greek stone carvers.

This metope is one out of 92 in sequence on the Parthenon temple, each displaying a battle from mythology. These served not just an aesthetic purpose but also carried moral and political significance, symbolizing the victory of logic, exemplified by the human Lapiths, over savagery, symbolized by the Centaurs. In a historical context, these represented Athens prevailing over the invading Persians.

British Museum
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece