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Paddle Doll

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
So-called paddle dolls are flat, schematic representations of naked, legless female figures on which jewelry, belts, and other details have been painted or drawn. Made as fertility figures, they were dedicated to goddesses by women or couples hoping to have children. Some are adorned with strings of mud pellets, apparently imitating hair. Many also have painted images— possibly representing tattoos—of deities such as Bes and Taweret or of human couples in sexual embrace.
MEDIUM Wood, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2081–1700 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 11 to Dynasty 13
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 8 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 1/4 in. (22.3 x 6.3 x 0.7 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; by 1852, acquired in Egypt by Henry Abbott; 1859, purchased from Henry Abbott by the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; September 1948, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Flat wooden female figurine with details of anatomy, garment, and jewelry painted in red and black on both sides. The reverse side bears painted representations of Ta-weret, a dog or jackal, and a couple engaged in erotic act. Probably a servant figurine. Condition: Part of the left arm was chipped off, and there is bad chipping all around the edges of the figure. The bottom left edge is missing.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Paddle Doll, ca. 2081–1700 B.C.E. Wood, pigment, 8 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 1/4 in. (22.3 x 6.3 x 0.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.101E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 37.101E_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.101E_PS9.jpg., 2019
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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