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Female Figure

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. This rare undamaged example, one of the oldest works in the Brooklyn Museum, was found in a burial excavated by the Museum's first archaeological expedition in Egypt. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them.
MEDIUM Terracotta, painted
  • Reportedly From: Ma'mariya, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 3500-3400 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period, Naqada IIa Period
    DIMENSIONS 11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 07.447.505
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Female Figure, ca. 3500-3400 B.C.E. Terracotta, painted, 11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.505. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE x-ray, detail, CONS.07.447.505_2000_xrs_detail02.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2000
    "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 Pottery figurine of a woman. Small head, with beak-like face, on long neck, expanding to shoulders. Rather long breasts. Waist gracefully curving into uplifted arms with hands turned in and pointed; thumbs detached; fingers, separated by sharp grooves on both sides, and graded in length naturalistically; wrists and elbows not indicated. Legs without feet, peg-shaped, their separation indicated by extremely shallow groove. Proportions rather natural. "Steatopygy" pronounced; torso flat. Fine brownish pottery, painted red on body, black, very thickly laid on, on hair; whitish, indicating cloth, from hips down; blackened near "feet" in front. Very fine specimen. Condition: Lacking both thumbs, finger-tips of right hand. Right arm repaired at elbow. Lower part repaired above knees. White painting almost entirely gone. Much of "hair" lost. Seemingly some repainting on torso.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (91%)
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