Legacy unearthed: The Lady of Elche

Legacy unearthed: The Lady of Elche.

Legacy unearthed: The Lady of Elche. Image: jjmillan / Shutterstock.com.

“La Dama de Elche,” or The Lady of Elche, is a renowned sculpture found in the La Alcudia Archaeological Park, making it one of the most famous pieces of art globally.

Currently housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid, it holds immense cultural and historical significance.

It was found by Manuel Campello, an 18-year-old doing agricultural work in Alcudia, on August 4, 1897.

The sculpture was intentionally hidden and well-preserved, showcasing its importance.

French archaeologist Pierre Paris expressed interest in acquiring the sculpture for France during his visit to Elche for the Misteri performances.

Eventually, it was sold for 4,000 francs (5,200 pesetas) and exhibited in the Louvre in Paris for over four decades.

It was during this time that it was named Lady of Elche.

Return to Spain

In 1941, the Lady was brought to Madrid along with other Spanish artistic treasures.

Although she briefly returned to Elche in 1965 for an exhibition, she has since remained in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.

In 2006, during the inauguration of the Archaeological and History Museum of Elche (MAHE), she returned briefly to Elche and was valued at €15M for insurance purposes.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.