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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Pandora

Mythic, worshipped in ancient Greece, dates vary, beginning circa 1600 B.C.E.

According to Greek mythology, Pandora (“all-gifted”) was the first woman, created by Zeus and endowed with many talents by the gods, hence her name. The legend states that when Prometheus stole fire from the gods, Zeus avenged the transgression by presenting Pandora—and a secret weapon—to Prometheus’ brother. She carried with her a jar that she was forbidden to open. Unable to contain her curiosity, she opened it, unleashing its contents—all the evils of humankind. By the time Pandora closed the lid, the only thing left at the bottom of the jar was hope.