< Back to collection


Female Figure

This female figure, shown in a long white skirt, was found in a tomb. Does she represent a goddess, a priestess, or a mourner? Is she grieving, dancing, or manifesting her power? Why are her feet not shown, and why is her head reduced to a birdlike beak? This striking statuette, one of the most famous Predynastic works in the world, raises questions that we may never be able to answer.

Catalogue Description:
Pottery figurine of a woman. Small head, with beak-like face, on long neck, expanding to shoulders. Rather long breasts. Waist gracefully curving into uplifted arms with hands turned in and pointed; thumbs detached; fingers, separated by sharp grooves on both sides, and graded in length naturalistically; wrists and elbows not indicated. Legs without feet, peg-shaped, their separation indicated by extremely shallow groove. Proportions rather natural. "Steatopygy" pronounced; torso flat. Fine brownish pottery, painted red on body, black, very thickly laid on, on hair; whitish, indicating cloth, from hips down; blackened near "feet" in front. Very fine specimen. Condition: Lacking both thumbs, finger-tips of right hand. Right arm repaired at elbow. Lower part repaired above knees. White painting almost entirely gone. Much of "hair" lost. Seemingly some repainting on torso.


Brooklyn Museum Logo