What is this?
This place setting is for Sophia. Sophia means "wisdom" and she represents the idea of wisdom being a trait of female goddesses.
What is the story behind this place setting in Judy Chicago's Dinner Party?
Sophia means "wisdom" in Greek and for this place setting, Chicago is referencing the idea of divine wisdom being seen as feminine (such as Athena) and the idea of the Queen of Heaven from the Gnostics.
Amazing. Thank you!
Is this the Greek idea of knowledge?
Basically, that place setting is dedicated to the Greek personification of wisdom!
In The Dinner Party, Sophia represents any number of Goddesses of Wisdom, from Athena to Prajnaparamita and especially references the way this concept was worked into early Christian writings in the Gnostic tradition.
Sophia is a Greek personification of wisdom. She is at the Dinner party as a representative for wisdom goddesses like Athena in the Greek tradition and deities like Prajnaparamita in Buddhism.
Why did the artist sometimes use general names like Amazon or Sophia?
That's a great question; sometimes Judy Chicago chose to represent a group of women rather than a single person. The Amazons, for instance, were a legendary (and likely mythical) tribe of warrior women who played a role in the Trojan War.
Sophia is a Greek personification of wisdom, and appears here as a representative for wisdom goddesses such as Athena (Greek tradition) or Prajnaparamita (Buddhist tradition).