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Female Figure

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
These three figurines represent two women and a man. They resemble the group painted on the Jar with Boat Design in a nearby case. In the scene on the jar, the larger female figure with upraised arms appears to be celebrating a ritual in the presence of the two smaller figures.

The bird-like faces on two of these figurines probably represent human noses, the source of the breath of life. The dark patch on the larger female’s head and the white paint on the male’s head and shoulders represent hair, also a human trait. All three figurines wear white skirts, indicating high-status individuals.
MEDIUM Clay, pigment
  • Place Excavated: El Ma'mariya, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 3650 B.C.E.–3300 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period, Naqada IIa Period
    DIMENSIONS 8 3/4 x 1 9/16 x 2 in. (22.2 x 3.9 x 5.1 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 07.447.501
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Terracotta figurine of woman. Head missing. High narrow waist, gracefully curving to pointed shoulders. No arms. Small breasts. Long legs, without feet, peg-shaped, their separation indicated by very shallow groove behind. "Steatopygy" pronounced; torso flat. Fine buff pottery, painted dark red on body, whitish, indicating cloth, from hips down to "below knees"; black dots on left breast. Condition: Head missing. White paint largely rubbed off.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Female Figure, ca. 3650 B.C.E.–3300 B.C.E. Clay, pigment, 8 3/4 x 1 9/16 x 2 in. (22.2 x 3.9 x 5.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.501. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.07.447.501_erg456_2013.jpg)
    IMAGE installation, CUR.07.447.501_erg456_2013.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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