Byzantine and Russian icons, £15.99
Late Chalcolithic, around 4500
Probably from the Amuq Plain, modern Turkey
A fertility symbol?
Although this figure was bought at Atchana it may have come from one of the many tells (remains of ancient settlements) that dot the landscape of the Amuq Plain. This is an extremely fertile area of more than 1400 square kilometres, and has been an attractive area to farmers for thousands of years.
Fertility symbols were important in Anatolian religion at all periods. Female figurines are found in the early prehistoric cultures from the sixth millennium BC onwards. The emphasis given to sexual features, limbs, body paint and jewellery varied according to time and place. Here the pose is naturalistic but the jutting head is almost featureless and she has large breasts and heavy thighs.
D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)