Pygmalion was a sculptor who lived on the island of Cyprus. Aphrodite was displeased with the women of his town, who had refused to accept that she was divine. She cursed them so that they lost all sense of modesty and would give themselves to any man who came along.

Because of their behaviour, Pygmalion disdained the company of women, but nonetheless he devoutly worshiped Aphrodite. He remained alone, carving his statues. One such statue, carved of ivory, was a women so beautiful that he fell deeply in love with her image. But she was a statue until Aphrodite heard his prayers and pleas. Pygmalion was rewarded for his devotion. The cold ivory turned to warm flesh as his statue came to life and embraced him.