Fertile Goddess Place Setting
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
On View: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, 4th Floor
Runner:Cotton/linen base fabric, woven interface support material (horsehair, wool, and linen), cotton twill tape, silk, synthetic gold cord, flax warp, wool, hair weft, shells, bone needles, starfish, ceramic fetish figures, beads, coiled wool yarn medallions, wool cording, thread
Plate: Porcelain with overglaze enamel (China paint), rainbow luster
Runner:53 3/8 x 31 3/8 in. (135.6 x 79.7 cm)
Plate:14 x 14 x 1 in. (35.6 x 35.6 x 2.5 cm) (show scale)
Gift of The Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation
Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). Fertile Goddess Place Setting, 1974-1979. Runner:Cotton/linen base fabric, woven interface support material (horsehair, wool, and linen), cotton twill tape, silk, synthetic gold cord, flax warp, wool, hair weft, shells, bone needles, starfish, ceramic fetish figures, beads, coiled wool yarn medallions, wool cording, thread
Plate: Porcelain with overglaze enamel (China paint), rainbow luster, Runner:53 3/8 x 31 3/8 in. (135.6 x 79.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10-PS-2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2002.10-PS-2_plate_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2002.10-PS-2_plate_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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© Judy Chicago
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Is that the Venus of Willendorf on the second place setting?
Chicago's ceramic figures of fertility goddesses are based on historical examples, and there are a few that are directly identifiable as inspired by the Venus of Willendorf, yes!
Why is this plate specifically designed this way for the fertile goddess?
The design of the plate is meant to represent breasts and seeds as if emerging from flesh, like birth.
The runner is made from coarse fabric and sewn with bone needles in reference to ancient textiles.
The spirals, shells, starfish, and figurines also all reference the iconography of ancient fertility goddesses.
Very cool thank you!
Tell me more.
This place setting for the Fertile Goddess is intended to represent a range of deities, as many religions from around the world have worshipped similar symbols of female power and fertility.
For example, above the fork, you can see a small clay figurine representing the Venus of Willendorf, one of the oldest sculptures in the world.