Lot 36B: Indus Valley Pottery Fertility Idol

Artemis Gallery

October 27, 2016
Louisville, CO, US

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Description: Central Asia, Indus Valley, ca. 2000 BCE. An interesting, stylized depiction of a female figure with wide, staring eyes and a pointed nose forming the majority of her bird-like facial features; she wears a large medallion on a string of necklaces, carefully depicted, and holds her hands underneath her pendulous breasts. Size: 1.6" W x 2.45" H (4.1 cm x 6.2 cm)

Figurines of women are perhaps the most plentiful of the figurines in the Indus Valley. The reason for this is unknown, but some researchers have proposed that women were particularly revered in that society, perhaps relating to their roles as mothers. Studies of burial sites at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa have shown that a man was often buried with his wife’s family. The female figurines are easily distinguished by a curving, pear-shaped body with large protruding breasts. The effect of these female figurines is two-fold: it emphasizes the beauty, and phallic/ sexual nature of the female; but at the same time, cherishes the nurturing, motherly nature of the female. The figurines of the women tend to also be heavily ornamented.

Provenance: Ex-Boston collection

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Condition Report: Repairs to neck and arms; this is the upper half of the figure only, broken at the waist.
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