Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Figurine

Period:
Middle Elamite
Date:
ca. 1500–1100 B.C.
Geography:
Iran, possibly from Susa
Culture:
Elamite
Medium:
Ceramic
Dimensions:
2 x 2.12 in. (5.08 x 5.38 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Warren A. Silver, 1954
Accession Number:
54.55.2
Not on view
At the time that this fragmentary figurine was produced, peoples in Iran had been creating mold-made plaques of nude female figures for over five hundred years. Nude female figurines may originally have been inspired by Mesopotamian productions, but quickly acquired distinctive forms. In the latter half of the second millennium B.C. these figures were depicted grasping their breasts between their thumbs and four fingers. Enough of this figure is preserved to see the emphasis placed on adornment (she wears a rosette necklace, bracelets, and herringbone-patterned shoulder bands that cross through a central piece). Rows of circles running across the pelvis are probably part of the stylized pubic triangle, seen on other figures of this period.

In the past, such figures have been interpreted as fertility figures. However, due to their frontal poses, exaggerated body parts, provocative gestures, and richly adorned bodies, they could be interpreted as erotic images.
Acquired by the Museum in 1954, gift of Warren A. Silver, Arlington, VA.
"Additions to the Collections." Eighty-Fourth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Year 1953, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 13 (1) (Summer 1954), p. 17.
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