Neolithic Triangular "Idol"
New York | Idols
 
Date:  > 3500 BC
Culture:  AnatolianNeolithicSyrian
Category:  IdolsSculpture
Medium:  Stone
Dimension: H: 3.3 cm
Price: $6,200.00
Provenance: Ex- Private European Collection of Ancient Near Eastern Idols Collected from 1980 - 1995
Serial No: 13142

This figurine is very unusual and unique among the pieces of the Neolithic sculpture. Despite the superficial wear and few concretions, it is entirely preserved and in a good condition. It conveys an undeniable charm, but morphologically, as this would seem, it is hardly more than a modeled pebble. Despite the first impression, one can easily distinguish the silhouette of a seated human figure which is certainly a simplified form of the "Mother Goddess".

It was carved from a small stone to which the sculptor gave a triangular and slightly thick shape, as if it were a steatopygic figure ("of large buttocks") in relief, but sculpted from all sides. The deeply incised lines are different and intend to represent the image of a seated woman, there is a similarity that one observes in certain statues of Tell Halaf (modern day Syria) or Hüyük Catal (modern day Turkey) in profile: one discerns thus the small rounded head, the plentiful breasts, the arms resting on the chest, the lines of the hips and thighs, the folded legs, and the deep separation between the legs; some lines also indicate the anatomy of the back.

A most often applied theory attributes steatopygic statuettes to a religious value: they would closely relate to (or would represent) the "Mother Goddess" who, during the prehistoric period, was probably a key mythological figure and protective of human and herds fecundity and earth fertility as well. According to the archaeological finds, this figure revered in a very vast and varied region ranging from the Near East to the Central Western Europe.

The exaggerated gender characteristics and the voluminous forms of such figurines – also noticeable in this work, even if in a stylized form - are best arguments in favor of this hypothesis. Most often modeled in terracotta (stone examples are rare), the figures of the steatopygic females have probably originated in Anatolia or the Near East (Catal Hüyük, Hacilar, Tell Halaf, Tell Bouqras) from where they were spread throughout the Mediterranean world.

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