Collections: Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art: Female Figure

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

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    07.447.505_SL1.jpg CUR.07.447.505_erg456.jpg CONS.07.447.505_2000_xrs_detail02.jpg CONS.07.447.505_2000_xrs_detail01.jpg 07.447.505_NegA_glass_bw_SL4.jpg 07.447.505_NegD_bw_SL4.jpg 07.447.502_07.447.505_glass_bw_SL4.jpg 07.447.505_NegC_bw_SL4.jpg 07.447.502_07.447.505_NegA_glass_bw_SL4.jpg 07.447.505_NegB_bw_SL4.jpg

    Female Figure

    Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. This rare undamaged example, one of the oldest works in the Brooklyn Museum, was found in a burial excavated by the Museum's first archaeological expedition in Egypt. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them.

    • Medium: Terracotta, painted
    • Reportedly From: Ma'mariya, Egypt
    • Dates: ca. 3500-3400 B.C.E.
    • Period: Predynastic Period, Naqada IIa Period
    • Dimensions: 11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    • Accession Number: 07.447.505
    • Credit Line: Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Female Figure, ca. 3500-3400 B.C.E. Terracotta, painted, 11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.505. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 07.447.505_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • 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.
    • Record Completeness: Best (91%)

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    Recent Comments
    16:23 06/16/2009
    Holy crow!
    that's the statue that
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    By Marlene F. Emmett
    20:29 09/26/2010
    Marlene is right, the art director of that program must have been inspires by this piece. The description of this mysterious piece only adds to the story!
    19:18 05/27/2011
    La disposición de los brazos de estas estatuillas recuerdan los cuernos de diosas-vacas posteiores, como Hathor
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