Caryatid, in classical architecture, draped female figure used instead of a column as a support.

In marble architecture, they first appeared in pairs in three small buildings (treasuries) at Delphi (550–530 BC), and their origin can be traced back to mirror handles of nude figures carved from ivory in Phoenicia and draped figures cast from bronze in archaic Greece.

According to a story related by the 1st-century-BC Roman architectural writer Vitruvius, caryatids represented the women of Caryae, who were doomed to hard labour because the town sided with the Persians in 480 BC during their second invasion of Greece.