During both the Byzantine and the Islamic periods, female images signified abundance, fertility, intellectual pursuits, deities, and cities. Women also appear as court entertainers such as dancers, musicians, and courtesans. The "tattoos" on this figurine may have had a therapeutic or an apotropaic function associated with warding off the evil eye. Hair may have been added to its head.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.