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Female Figure
Bactria, end of 3rd to beginning of 2nd millennium B.C., Chlorite and Limestone, H: 15 cm

This female figure is composed of a head made of limestone and a cup and a body made of chlorite. On the plump face the nose and the mouth look small, but are clearly visible, eyes are almond-shaped and ears look like short cylindrical protrusions. The headdress is shaped like a turban with folds on the top of the head bound with a kind of cord coming in a curved line from behind to the front of the headdress. The figure is sitting, and a texture of the fleece garment covering body and legs is expressed in a pattern consisting of incised triangles and lozenges filled with thinner vertical lines. On a base of similar examples, it is possible that hands made of the same material as the head were placed on the knees executed as a shelf-like part in the front of the statue.
Most of such female figures are seated, but standing examples are also known. There are even more simple figures without hands, but there are also figures which body consists of two, the upper and the lower parts made separately. The figures happen to be incomplete, because separately made parts are easy to get lost or damaged. There are even figures sitting with their legs folded back and to the side, and those legs made separately are inserted into small hollows in the bottom at the side. Patterns of the fleece garment show a great variety. The head-dress is also various from a coiffure through a veil, a hat or a turban. All faces are different, and diversity of these figures in one genre prove great creativity of the artists.
This figure has features in common with a group of similar examples unearthed in Margiana, Elam and Mesopotamia. It belongs to the culture that flourished in the area extending from Iran through Western Asia to the Central Asia. Known images similar to these ones, but not sculptures, are also incised on silver vessels or seals, and usually interpreted as goddesses. This figure may be interpreted either as a female or as a divine being, a goddess or a priestess in service of a goddess. Then accordingly to the literature on this subject concerning similar figures unearthed from tombs, no matter if the deceased is a male or a female the figure is located near to the head and facing the deceased as looking at him, what might suggest protective role of the figures.
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