Mother and "Child"

Second Intermediate Period–Early New Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 136

These female figures are still wrapped in the linen bandages they were buried in some 3,500 years ago. Such objects emphasized aspects of ancient Egyptian femaleness, which were connected to fertility. Therefore, these figures were often placed in burials to help the dead be reborn. Here a mother cuddles her child, signaling to the viewer the idea of birthing and then nurturing a child. It is interesting that this "baby" is not actually shown as an infant, but as a miniature adult woman. She displays developed breasts and sports an elaborate hairdo and jewelry, like her mother. The pair offers a dual interpretation of fertility. They serve not only as an aid in rebirth through female attractiveness, but also to illustrate the state of successful motherhood.

Mother and "Child", pottery, linen, unfired clay, unsaturated oil or resin, seeds

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