Classical World, Northern Italy, Etruria, Hellenistic Period, ca. late 4th to 1st century BCE. An intriguing hollow-molded terracotta anatomical model depicting a uterus, its ovoid body comprised of several raised segments, a projecting lateral element, and a pierced opening surrounded by concentric rings, all covered in vibrant orange slip. Votive uteri like this example were created as offerings to the gods in request of good health or perhaps a successful pregnancy. The unusual form of such uteri was due to only a basic comprehension of human anatomy as those in antiquity rarely practiced exploratory dissection. Scholars posit that, based on the variety of uteri forms, they may represent other internal organs such as the appendix, bladder, or pancreas. Size: 5.5" W x 3.55" H (14 cm x 9 cm).
For a stylistically-similar example of an Etruscan votive uterus, please see The British Museum, museum number 1982,0401.3: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=673097&partId=1
For another stylistically-similar example, please see the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University, object number 1977.216.2926: https://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/290139
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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