Fertility Goddess
Enlarge (9MB) Zoom in
This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Chalcolithic, Cyprus, 3000 - 2500 B.C.
15 3/8 x 10 1/4 x 16 9/16 in.

Add to Getty Bookmarks

Cypriot female figurines are clearly associated with fertility and childbirth, and this figure with her flattened thighs is squatting in a birthing position. The detailed head of the woman with added facial features 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.

Female figurines are found throughout the Mediterranean in the third millennium B.C. Over one hundred cruciform figures made in southwestern Cyprus in the period 3000 - 2500 B.C. are known, but almost all are considerably smaller in scale than this example. Only one other figure of this large size is known; these two may have served as cult images representing a fertility goddess.

The figure's left arm, with its clearly visible attachment holes, was repaired in antiquity. This repair attests to the figure's value and importance to the ancient Cypriots.