Female figure


Not on view

In the middle of the second millennium B.C., the state of Elam in southwestern Iran achieved new levels of political and military power. Excavations at several important sites of this period uncovered distinctive objects that attest to the originality of artists and reflect an interest in elements of adornment.

This mold-made female figure is depicted with a patterned headdress and wears crossed shoulder bands that hang thought a slip ring between her breasts and are incised with a herringbone pattern. She is adorned with a necklace, three bracelets on each wrist, and anklets. She holds her breasts in her hands, her enlarged pubic triangle is made up of rows of curls, and her flat but fleshy body and distended legs are characteristic of nude female figures of this period. The figure confronts the gaze of the viewer with her wide, rimmed eyes.

Such nude female images have often 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.

Female figure, Ceramic, Elamite

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