Terracotta Figure of a Woman

Terracotta Figure of a Woman
Artist Nationality/Culture: 
Artist Life Dates: 
Object Date: 
4.3 x 8.3 x 3 cm
Geography B (Ancient)
Excavation Site: 
Geography A (Modern)
Modern Country: 
More Details
Available Provenance: 
Nicolas Koutoulakis; John and Dominique de Menil (1964); Menil Foundation, Inc.(1998)
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Object Paragraph: 
The terracotta figurine is characteristic of Neolithic (10,000–3000 BCE) manufacture from Southwest Anatolia. The small, but robust statuette is in the form of a nude woman laying on her side. She has thick hips, thighs and breasts that are cupped in pointed hands. Her headless body is twisted in a modified fetal position with her knees tucked close to her elbows and belly, while her triangular shaped torso is turned out exposing her chest in a frontal position. This S-shaped posture accentuates the contours of her body, particularly her waist and hips. | The idol is identified with a series of female figurines that date to 5600 BCE and largely come from the Neolithic sites of Hacilar and Çatalhöyük in modern day Turkey. This corpus, which includes examples molded in clay and stone, is seen to represent a Neolithic “mother goddess.” Traditionally, it has been believed that the “mother goddess” was central to Neolithic worship, with the robust modeling of the breasts and thighs acting as visual depictions of ancient concepts of agricultural fecundity. Recent scholarship posits that the idol is more akin to a talisman and is intended to aid the realization of an individual’s personal goals and desires.
Object Number (Accession Number): 
CA 64010.1