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Paddle Doll

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

"Paddle dolls" earned their nickname because of their resemblance to modern Ping-Pong paddles. They all show exaggerated depictions of female genitalia. Some are decorated with rudimentary drawings of couples engaged in sexual intercourse, and others have images of birth gods. The iconography of birth and reproduction suggests that the Egyptians believed "paddle dolls" enhanced fertility for the living and probably also for the dead.

MEDIUM Wood, mud, flax, faience, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2008-1630 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late XI Dynasty-early XIII Dynasty
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 8 x 2 1/16 in. (20.3 x 5.2 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 16.84
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Paddle Doll, ca. 2008-1630 B.C.E. Wood, mud, flax, faience, pigment, 8 x 2 1/16 in. (20.3 x 5.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour, 16.84. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, CUR.16.84_NegA_print_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Painted wooden doll with hair of mud beads. The doll is of conventional Middle Kingdom type with square shoulders and rounded base. The decorations on the front are in red and black with a large triangular design painted at the base. On the back is painted a small demonlike creature in bright red. The hair is composed mainly of small tubular mud beads but there are included a few small bright blue faience beads. This type of object is well known although sometimes referred to as dolls and other times as servant figurines of concubines to be placed on the tomb. Condition: The paint is faded and worn, the edges are chipped.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (84%)
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