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Female Figurine

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Scholars once thought that nude female figurines of this type—with incomplete legs, jewelry, often an elaborate hairdo, and sometimes tattoos—served as symbolic concubines for men in the afterlife. We now know, however, that they functioned as fertility figurines for both men and women. Most were dedicated in shrines of Hathor and other goddesses by those hoping to have a child.
MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1938–1539 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 12 to Dynasty 17
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 4 5/8 x 1 7/8 in. (11.8 x 4.7 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; by 1948, acquired by Spink and Son, London, England; 1948, purchased from Spink and Son by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Limestone statuette of a woman. Body nude with hands held at sides. Figure ends at knees. On front half of head a wig painted black with conventional square incisions. Rear half of head shaved and painted with dot pattern except for three braids which hang down on to body. Wig is undercut above shoulders. Entire body may have been glazed as there are remains of pale blue on base. Faint traces of armlets and band above hips. Condition: Intact. Surface dirty.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Female Figurine, ca. 1938–1539 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 4 5/8 x 1 7/8 in. (11.8 x 4.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 48.25. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.48.25_NegC_print_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.48.25_NegC_print_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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