by 1976 -
Private Collection (Switzerland)
Galerie Uraeus (Paris, France), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.
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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 113, Neolithic to Bronze Age Greece
Figure of a Fertility Goddess
Cyprus (Place Created)
39.1 × 26 × 42.1 cm (15 3/8 × 10 1/4 × 16 9/16 in.)
Carved from the local limestone of Cyprus, this female figure is one of the largest examples of cruciform (cross-shaped) statues from the Chalcolithic period. In Cypriot art, the female form is often associated with fertility and childbirth, and this figure with her flattened thighs appears to be squatting in a birthing position. The detailed head of the woman, with added facial features, ears, and hair atop an elongated neck, contrasts with her highly schematized body with its large pendent breasts. The double-roped bands on the arms may represent some form of jewelry, perhaps bracelets. Ancient attachment holes for repairing the figure’s left arm are clearly visible.
Over one hundred cruciform figures made in southwestern Cyprus in the period 3000-2500 B.C. are known. Found primarily in burials, almost all are considerably smaller in scale than this example. The size of this statue suggests that it was made as a cult image representing a fertility or mother goddess. The ancient repairs made to the figure’s left arm further attest to the importance of the object in antiquity.
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