Ancient Near East, the Levant, Canaanite people, ca. 2nd millennium BCE. A tall, thin, lost wax cast bronze figure of a woman with a zoomorphic, horse-like face. The figure stands on narrow legs ending in small feet, and which rise to meet her narrow waist. A small slot at the groin suggests the sex of the figure, as do the high, round breasts on the broad, triangular chest. The arms are curved upward, pressed in high relief against the chest, resting between and below the breasts, a pose very similar to those of other Canaanite and Near Eastern votive figures of goddesses and women. The head has a very interesting shape, with a horse-like face with a curved crest over the top of it. Size: 1.85" W x 7.2" H (4.7 cm x 18.3 cm); 7.5" H (19 cm) on included custom stand.
Who is this goddess? It seems likely that she is Asherah (Ashratu), based on the placement of her arms, which mirrors that of other Asherah figures. The zoomorphic head may be a form of the goddess used to ward off evil spirits. Like many of the goddess figures known from the ancient Near East, Asherah's role and attributes seem to have been complex, and the interpretations of early archaeologists have only muddied the waters of understanding them. Asherah has been variously associated with fertility, sexuality, voluptuousness, and prostitution. The Bible, in both Kings and Chronicles, warned the ancient Israelites against worshipping her because of the dangerous nature of her sexuality.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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