Hélène Virenque, Egyptologist
Although incomplete, the three figurines have the same rectangular shape and a fine polished surface. They each depict a naked woman, in a very schematic form, with only the breasts and a pubic triangle shown in detail. The breasts are usually added as separate pieces of clay, and thus easily break off, as with two of our examples. The pubic triangle was marked with a series of small holes. None feature legs or arms.
Such representations are well known in ancient Egypt, especially from the Middle Kingdom onwards. By emphasing the genitalia, they evoke the woman as a source of fertility and thus could be associated with the cult of the goddess Hathor.
Some similar statuettes were found in Upper Egypt, placed in the temple of Deir el-Bahri during the New Kingdom. Other more elaborate types of fertility figurine, in painted wood, are known from late Middle Kingdom tombs.
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