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.
ca. 3500-3400 B.C.E.
Predynastic Period, Naqada IIa Period
11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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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
overall, 07.447.505_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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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.
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