|Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology|
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|Highlights of the Collection: Prehistoric Terracottas|
|Female Figurine (AN1953.244)||Back to previous page|
Terracotta figurine of a wide-hipped, full-busted woman holding a rudimentary baby close to her breast. This is a type of figurine very characteristic of the Cypriot Late Bronze Age. However, despite the standardisation of the form, their somewhat comical appearance strikes one every time. The rather bird-like head with beaked nose and large circular eyes set slightly lopsidedly gives her a faintly suprised look. The extraordinarily large double-looped ears were probably designed to receive separately made earrings, possibly of gold. Her thin tapering legs end in pointed stumps rather than feet, and she was probably not capable of standing upright on her own. Most of the examples one sees in museums are mounted on wooden blocks or other supporting devices. Their backs, like the back of this one, are quite flat, and they were probably usually placed lying down. The incised lines round her neck may represent necklaces, those round her hips just possibly some form of loincloth or wrapping (though on other examples the decoration in this area seems rather more like an exaggerated representation of pubic hair).
In this case, the head of the baby she holds in her folded arms is only just visible (with the eye of faith) as an extra loop of clay attached in front of her breasts. In some other examples of this type of figurine, the babies are much more obvious and often quite a bit larger.
Late Cypriot II, c. 1300-1200 BC. From a looted tomb at Dhenia-Kafkalla.
Vassos Karageorghis, The coroplastic art of ancient Cyprus, vol. II, cat. no. A(v)13.
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