Figure of a Woman


Crudely formed figure of a seated woman with a child held across her lap. Handmade in marl clay. Body modeled with the fingers using separate rolls of clay. The date is uncertain but does compare with similar figures from the Middle Kingdom - Second Intermediate Period. Fertility figurines such as this one have been found in burials of men, women and children, as well as in houses and temples. In daily life, these figurines may have been magical guarantors of fertility both to mothers and to children who had reached the age of puberty. As burial equipment, they represented the potential for rebirth and procreation, thus assuring continuity and immortality in the afterlife for men and women. Previously in the collection of Dr Herman Philip and Mrs Dora Philip of 32 Gayfield Square, Edinburgh. Was displayed in Ventilator Case 45 before World War Two and in 1939 evacuated to Mostyn Castle, Wales. Compare with Dorothy Downes, ‘The Excavations at Esna 1905-1906’ (Warminster, 1974), 85-90; and Janine Bourriau, 'Umm el-Ga'ab. Pottery from the Nile Valley Before the Arab Conquest' (Cambridge, 1981) nos. 240-1, pp. 119-120; and Janine Bourriau, 'Pharaohs and Mortals' (Cambridge, 1988), nos. 119-120, pp. 116-117; and W. M. F. Petrie, 'Diopolis Parva: the cemeteries of Abadiyeh and Hu. 1898-9'. London (1901), pl. XXVI [Dynasty 12].