Figure of a Woman


Figurine of a naked woman, handmade in marl clay. Body modelled with the fingers, details incised. Head is missing. 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. 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].