Two statuettes of youths, armless

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: .1: H. 7 in. (17.8 cm)
.2: H. 7 in. (17.8 cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: Purchase, 1901

Accession Number: 01.13.1, .2


These two statuettes belong to yet another group of jointed figurines, those with articulated arms. They represent a seated nude girl and a youth. Their arms, now lost, were once attached with a string or wire that went through a hole piercing the shoulders. They might have also been equipped with a seat modeled separately and now lost. Both statuettes were once painted: there are traces of white slip on the girl's body, and traces of reddish color on the hair. The figurine of a youth was also covered with white slip and painted light brown; his hair was also once reddish.
These figurines are so close stylistically that there is no doubt they came out of the same workshop. Moreover, it is very possible that the same mold was used to create the bodies of both statuettes. Greek coroplasts often used one mold to manufacture different figurines. In this particular case, the female body was skillfully transformed into that of a youth.
Figurines of seated women with articulated arms are far more common than those of men. Pairs of similar male and female figures are even more rare: the fact that these "dolls'' belong together makes them of exceptional importance. Female figurines may be dressed or nude, and quite frequently are adorned with intricate jewelry and rather elaborate headdresses. For this reason, it has been suggested that these figurines depict Oriental Aphrodite. The uncommon seated male figurines, always represented in the nude, are often identified as Adonis, Aphrodite's consort.
These two figurines, however, lack any identifying attributes. But the appearance of male and female figurines in pairs may carry implications of fertility that might be connected with different cults, and thus could be a suitable offering to a variety of deities.