About this object

Votive offering of a womb, hole in the back. Mould-made in coarse, yellowish-orange terracotta with abundant inclusions and tracesof pinkish-buff slip. The model is intended to portray a human uterus with third-stage labour contractions, shown as wavy ridges covering the upper surface. It was constructed with a moulded convex upper surface attached to a flat, smooth back, the latter pierced with a vent hole near the centre. The coarse clay is characteristic of votives made in southern Etruria, Latium and Campania, part of a trend for anatomical votive models which developed around 300 BC and lasted for over a century.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy
  • Date made
    3rd Century BC early
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Charles T Gatty
  • Collector
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
    1883 - 1884
  • Measurements
    198 mm x 101 mm x 56 mm
  • Related people
    Charles Tindall Gatty ( Previous owner)

Explore related


  • Catalogue of Etruscan Objects in World Museum, Liverpool

    MacIntosh Turfa, Jean; Muskett, Georgina

    Author: MacIntosh Turfa, Jean; Muskett, Georgina
    Publisher: Archaeopress Publishing Ltd
    Date: 2017
    Description: One of the finest collections of Etruscan artifacts outside of Italy was begun in the 19th century by Joseph Mayer, goldsmith, of Liverpool. His donation of the collection became the core of Liverpool Museum, now World Museum, and has been augmented over the years by additional gifts and other acquisitions, such as those from the Wellcome Collection and Norwich Castle Museum. Much of the original material came from the necropolis of Vulci (Canino) when it was excavated by Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino, while additional objects represent several other cities and sites. Already famous for its gold jewellery and bronze vessels of the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, the Liverpool collection includes a fine selection of Etruscan vases, especially bucchero ware and Archaic painted vases, several scarab seals in semiprecious stones, a small number of carved ivories, and funerary urns, including that of Larui Helesa, in which were found gold earrings identical to those worn by her colourful effigy on its lid. A large group of bronze fibulae (safety-pins) furnish examples of most major types of those important ornaments of the Iron Age and Archaic periods. Engraved bronze mirrors and terracotta votives in the form of heads and body parts (such as uteri) of the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE illustrate myths and offerings that were essential to Etruscan religion. From a Villanovan sword to Hellenistic epitaphs, the Liverpool Etruscan and Italian collection offers a rare glimpse of early civilization in central Italy.

  • Health and Medicine in Etruria

    MacIntosh Turfa, Jean

    Author: MacIntosh Turfa, Jean
    Publisher: Routledge
    Date: 2013


  • Tour of Italy and Greece, Charles T Gatty and the 3rd Marquess of Bute

    Start date: 1883-11
    End date: 1883-11
    Description: From November 1883 to February 1884, Charles T Gatty undertook a tour of Italy and Greece. He travelled with John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute (12 September 1847 to 9 October 1900). This is recorded in the museum's Annual Report 1885, page 13. Gatty returned with a group of artefacts accessioned on 10th April 1884.


Previous owners

  • Charles Tindall Gatty

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1884-04-10
    Disposal method: Donation
Object view = Humanities
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