Female figurine

A terracotta figurine of a woman. The woman is nude and the pubic triangle has been accentuated by the use of incised lines. She has round modeled breasts that were formed by adding balls of clay to the main body. Her arms hang at her sides and the hands blend into the sides of the legs. The spaces between the arms and the body have been cut away. The legs are modeled together and are separated only by an incised line. The legs taper to a point and the feet are merely suggested by a slight upturn of the tapered end of the joined legs. A pierced dot indicates the navel; additional dots around the back above the buttocks suggest that she is wearing a beaded girdle. The coils of clay with pierced dots on them were applied around the neck of the figure in imitation of a heavy beaded necklace. The face is relatively flat except for the nose and appears almost bird-like. The nose was created by pinching the clay slightly and the eyes are simple incised lines with incised brow lines above. The top of the head flares out and back and is pierced with four holes. Ears are suggested; the pierced holes on either side were probably for earrings.

Historical period(s)
Dynasties 15 to 18, Second Intermediate Period, ca. 1630-1539 BCE
Medium
Terracotta
Dimensions
H x W x D: 16.3 x 5.4 x 2.9 cm (6 7/16 x 2 1/8 x 1 1/8 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
F1907.389
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Sculpture
Type

Figure: human

Keywords
Egypt, Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1630 - 1539 BCE), woman
Provenance

To 1906-1907
Unidentified owner, Egypt, to 1906-1907 [1]

From 1906-1907 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased in Egypt from an unidentified owner in the winter of 1906-1907 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 1876, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Description

A terracotta figurine of a woman. The woman is nude and the pubic triangle has been accentuated by the use of incised lines. She has round modeled breasts that were formed by adding balls of clay to the main body. Her arms hang at her sides and the hands blend into the sides of the legs. The spaces between the arms and the body have been cut away. The legs are modeled together and are separated only by an incised line. The legs taper to a point and the feet are merely suggested by a slight upturn of the tapered end of the joined legs. A pierced dot indicates the navel; additional dots around the back above the buttocks suggest that she is wearing a beaded girdle. The coils of clay with pierced dots on them were applied around the neck of the figure in imitation of a heavy beaded necklace. The face is relatively flat except for the nose and appears almost bird-like. The nose was created by pinching the clay slightly and the eyes are simple incised lines with incised brow lines above. The top of the head flares out and back and is pierced with four holes. Ears are suggested; the pierced holes on either side were probably for earrings.

Label

This type of "doll" figure has been found in ancient Egypt in graves dating from Dynasties 12 to 18 (ca. 1938–1539 B.C.E.). This particular example most closely resembles examples that have been dated to the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1630–1539/23 B.C.E.). These figurines, which clearly symbolized fertility, were placed in graves to ensure the rebirth and fertility of the deceased in the next world. The holes in the ears of this figure would likely have contained beaded earrings at one time, and the perforations on the top of the head were used to attach strings of clay beads in imitation of flowing hair. The coils of pierced clay around the neck were made to imitate heavy necklaces.

Published References
  • William Christoper Hayes. The Scepter of Egypt. 2 vols., Cambridge, 1953 -1959. pp. 16-18.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Egyptian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum