Exhibitions: The Fertile Goddess

Female Figurine

Female Figurine. Provenance not known; type known from northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and Syria. Late Halaf Period, late fifth millennium B.C.E. Clay, pigment, 4 1/8 x 1 7/8 x 1 5/8 in. (10.4 x 4.7 x 4.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by the Hagop Kevorkian Fund and Designated Purchase Fund, 1990.14

Excavated examples of this figurine type have been found, often in groups, among domestic refuse, from sites such as Tell Halaf and Tell Chagar Bazar in Syria. This figurine, made from clay, was pinched and smoothed in sections, joined together, and then sun-dried. Portions of the body, like the breasts and thighs, are exaggerated, possibly expressing sexual fecundity or a cultural ideal of the female form, and perhaps indicating body manipulation techniques were in practice at this time. Stripes painted on the arms, legs, and around the neck may represent tattoos, scarification, body paint, beads, or clothing. Breaks at the waist, neck, and right arm have been repaired and the head appears heavily restored.