Ancient Near East, Northern Syria, Syro-Hittite, ca. 3rd millennium BCE. An enormous hand-built pottery female fertility idol with its highly-burnished surface covered in tan slip. The columnar-form figure is supported by a wide conical base, lengthy fused legs beneath an inverted triangular chest and perky breasts, sharply-angled shoulders with a single arm boasting a cupped hand, and a slender neck supporting a knob-shaped head. The figure, perhaps representative of the goddess Astarte, dons a pair of striated necklaces below drooping bangs and a plaited braid cascading down the nape of her neck. Her stylized visage presents a prominent triangular nose, discoid eyes with incised pupils, and plateaued cheeks, all beneath a pinched tiara placed across her planar brow. The design of the eyes relates to the common motif throughout the ancient Near East that eyes must be wide and attentive to show religious devotion. An exceptionally rare example for its size! Size: 3.25" W x 11.73" H (8.3 cm x 29.8 cm).
Published in "Idols: The Beginning of Abstract Form." Ariadne Galleries, Inc., London, 1989, p. 82, fig. 63
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Ariadne Galleries, London, England, United Kingdom; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1960s
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Repair to legs at roughly knee-height with minor resurfacing and light adhesive residue along break line. Loss to right arm and hand. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, minor nicks to base, body, shoulders, and head, with fading to some finer details, and light encrustations within recessed areas. Nice earthen and mineral deposits throughout.