Fertility Goddess

DATE:
late 2nd millennium BCE
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Ceramic
CLASSIFICATION:
Sculpture
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 6 x 2 1/16 x 1 3/16 in. (15.24 x 5.24 x 3.02 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Classical Art
LOCATION:
304 SNAIL GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark
OBJECT NUMBER:
1974.81.FA

General Description

This kind of ceramic female figurine was quite common in Syria during the Bronze Age. The statuettes consist of standing frontal female figures that are nude, though usually wearing ornaments and headdresses. Features like ears, eyes, and navels may be indicated by incised circles. The high headdresses are also pierced with similar circles. The Dallas Museum of Art example has a pinched nose, a double-banded necklace, indications of a hip band or pelvic area, abbreviated triangular arms, legs separated by a groove, and slightly modeled toes. These common figurines were possibly votive offerings or amulets to a mother-goddess, and their form may have been influenced by cult statues in a temple. Many other examples indicate the nurturing female breasts more than the DMA piece does. The connections in form, and probably in meaning, between this little statuette and the DMA's two Cycladic figurines are apparent in the frontal pose and the strongly stylized forms of the female body.

Excerpt from

Anne R. Bromberg and Karl Kilinski II, Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996. 30.