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Collection Highlights

Fertility figurine

Fertility figurine
© BA Antiquities Museum/E. Omar

Registration Number(s)
BAAM Serial Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum Number 1056

Inv.Inventory
 (Monthu storeroom) 472

where to find


showcase 3

Fertility figurine

Category:
Tomb equipment, offering / votive models, fertility figurines
Date:
Ancient Egyptian period, New Kingdom (1550-1069 BCE)
Provenance:
Upper Egypt, Luxor (Thebes) (French Expedition Excavations)
Material(s):
Man made material, pottery (terracotta)
Height:
17 cm;
Width:
7 cm;
Depth:
2.5 cm
Hall:
In the Afterlife, showcase 3


Description

Flat pottery fertility figurine. The face is not carefully modeled as the artist’s main concern was to place emphasis on the sexual parts of the body: the slight breasts and the large and heavily marked pubic area.
 

Fertility Figurines

From at least the Badarian period (c.5500-4000 B.C.) onwards, figurines of women, made of clay, wood, ivory or stone were included among the funerary equipment. These were often highly stylized and generally emphasized one or more of the sexual characteristics. Until recently, these figures were called erroneously 'concubine figures' as they were thought to magically act as sexual partner for the dead man. However, female fertility figures occur in burials of women as well as men. Accordingly, most Egyptologists believe now that the function of the female figurines within the tomb was to guarantee rebirth in the afterlife.


The information given here is subject to modification/update as a result of ongoing research.

Bibliography
  • Shaw, Ian and Paul Nicholson. The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. London: British Museum, 1997.
  • Quirke, Stephen. Ancient Egyptian Religion. London: British Museum, 1992.
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