Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Statuettes of naked women with incomplete legs, like this example, have been found in Middle Kingdom tombs and houses. Early Egyptologists mistakenly identified them as concubines intended to provide the spirits of men with an eternity of sexual pleasure.
Recent studies show that both men and women used these figures to ensure fertility. In the home, they were believed to enhance a wife’s fruitfulness and a husband’s potency by invoking Hathor, the goddess of sexual love. As tomb offerings, they guaranteed the deceased’s sexual power in the afterlife.
ca. 1938-1630 B.C.E.
XII Dynasty-early XIII Dynasty
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fertility Figurine, ca. 1938-1630 B.C.E. Faience, 2 x 5 3/16 in. (5.1 x 13.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 44.226. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 44.226_SL1.jpg)
overall, 44.226_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"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.
Faience figurine of a dancing-girl. Turquoise blue glaze with details (hair, eyes, and eyebrows, ornaments) in purplish black. The figure is rather well-modeled, with slender waist and swelling thighs. The upper arms are free from the body, but hands and lower arms lie close to the thighs. The legs end (as is frequent in servant-figurines of the period) in rounded stumps at the knees. The girl wears a “Hathor” wig with spiral curls in front and straight, squared lock in back, and is nude save for a girdle of cowrie-shells and beads and bead necklaces, indicated by black markings. Black dots arranged in lozenges on legs probably indicate tattooing. The pubic triangle is emphasized by black dots.
Condition: Broken through the middle and repaired. Black spots worn in places. Brownish traces of (?) clay mould. Otherwise perfect.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.