Female figurine of the Plastiras type
Early Cycladic I period - Pelos phase
Early example or a precursor of the Plastiras type. The long ovoid head is crowned by a conical cap, the arms are folded below the chest and the legs are carved n the round. The pubic triangle is rendered by incision while the small breasts are modelled.
Figurines of the “Plastiras type”, thus named after the cemetery on Paros where they were first identified, were contemporary with violin-shaped figurines and represent the earliest attempt at the naturalistic rendering of the human figure in the third millennium BC. These figurines, which are mainly female and of small dimensions (h. 7-31 cm.), display some of those features that were subsequently to develop into distinctive traits of Cycladic figurines, such as the position of the arms below the breasts and the ovoid head with relief nose. However, the sculptors had not yet conquered the abstraction of the mature period of Cycladic art and instead cleaved to a markedly naturalistic conception, which is particularly pronounced in the treatment of the pelvic area, the pubic triangle and the legs.
Typologically, the Plastiras type figurines are a development of the steatopygous figures of the Late Neolithic period (5300-3200 BC). The conical cap with horizontal grooves occurs on both male and female figures of the late Early Cycladic I period and the transitional phase to Early Cycladic II, and is considered to echo Eastern (Syrian) influences, perhaps in combination with influences from the Balkans.
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Venus of El Pendo Cave
This ‘Venus’ was discovered in the Solutrean layer of the El Pendo Cave, Camargo, province of Santander. It is made of deer antler, and its form evokes that of a woman, with arms raised and with large hips.
In fact, it is very likely a fragment of a baton perforé, or spear straightener.
The Yeliseevichi site was discovered in 1930 and it is located on the river Sudost, the right tributary of the Desna, in the Briansk Province, Russia. The majority of prehistoric artefacts was found in a heap of mammoth skulls piled next to a residential house. The most remarkable of these is a finely modelled 15 cm tall figure depicting a shapely woman with no feet, head and hands, carved of mammoth tusk. The figurine has prominent buttocks and legs.
(This venus figure, represented by facsimiles in these photos, appears never to have had a head, and the sculpture emphasises the thighs and buttocks rather than the breasts, although they are certainly indicated. This has the look of a younger figure which has not yet gone through childbirth. The waist is slim, the hips and thighs are well formed, as are the breasts, unchanged by child-rearing. It has quite a different emphasis and seems from a different tradition when compared with most other Kostenki venuses, nor for that matter with most of the other Gravettian venuses from France, for example. It has affinities with the unusual “venus impudique” from France. - Don)
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A LAPIS AMULET OF A GODDESS
LATE PERIOD, DYNASTY
XXVI-XXX, 664-343 B.C.
2 in. (6.4 cm) high
Possibly Isis or Nephthis, standing with the left leg advanced, wearing a striated tripartite wig, the broad collar visible between the lappets, her tight-fitting sheath revealing the form of her body beneath, her arms held at her sides, the left hand fisted, the right hand open, the detailed face with lidded eyes and extended cosmetic lines beneath raised brows, the head morticed at the top to receive the now-missing crown, the sides of the back pillar perforated for suspension
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H.: 27 cm / Th.: 5.5 cm / W.: 7.5 cm
From Cyprus, Kidasi (Paphos region)
Figurine modelling flourished in Cyprus in the Late Neolithic period and even more so during the Chalcolithic period. Various types of figurines, in materials such as steatite, limestone, picrolite and clay, represent the human figure in a purely schematic or a more naturalistic manner.
This figurine of soft limestone is dubbed the “Zintilis idol” (after the collector) and belongs to a group of Chalcolithic stone figurines, characteristics of which include a slight backwards tilt of the head, deep eye sockets (perhaps originally inset with stone or shell), relief breasts, arms bent below the bosom and superficial incisions indicating the pubes and separating the legs.
The figurine was found in the village of Kidasi, in the Paphos region, but its archaeological context did not permit its unequivocal association with cult activities. Nevertheless, the prevailing view is that nude female figurines of this type, with pronounced anatomical details (breasts, pudenda), were most probably associated with beliefs about birth and maternity, or with rites dedicated to the great “Mother Goddess” in her role as a fertility deity.
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