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Statuette of a Fertility Goddess
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Unknown
Greek, Boiotia, 600 - 575 B.C.
Terracotta
H: 6 11/16 in.
71.AD.132

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Thousands of clay figurines like this one survive from the Archaic period, which lasted from 600 to 480 B.C. Clay was a common, inexpensive, and easily worked material, and these figurines, some highly finished and others very crude, must have appealed to a broad range of people.

Wearing a distinctive tall headdress or polos, a woman sits on a chair or throne. Her flat, plank-like body and sketchily indicated facial features are typical. Small triangular projections schematically indicate her outstretched arms. She wears an elaborately decorated dress and a necklace with a pomegranate pendant. The polos and the pomegranate on the necklace probably indicate that the female figure was meant to represent either the goddess Persephone or Demeter.

Terracotta figurines were produced throughout Greece, but they were especially popular in certain areas like Boeotia, where this one was made. Boeotian artisans especially preferred female figures, either mortal women or goddesses. The figurines were frequently left as dedications to the divinities in religious sanctuaries.