- Museum number
Hollow burnished pottery vessel in the form of a highly stylised human figure; handmade; brown-orange clay; steatopygous female with diminutive breasts, oval face, pierced ears; nose indicated but no other facial features represented; shallow horizontal incision around the neck, resembling a choker necklace; additional shallow vertical incision down the chest and around the equivalent of the waist and just above the prominent buttocks; low ridge at the back indicating hair line; fine zig-zag incised decoration on the right side below raised shoulder and below light vertical burnishing. Object made of slightly micaceous clay, but surfaces partly obscured by thin pale grey lime concretion; broken in two halves and restored; modern drill hole in base near the edge.
- Production date
- 10thC BC-8thC BC
Height: 25.50 centimetres
Thickness: 8 centimetres
Width: 15.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Oxford Lab. Thermoluminescence test 281.d 4; result 10th-7thC BC (use as confirmation of authenticity rather than exact date).
Xeroradiography conducted (DSR file no. 6890, dated 21 February 1997). Radiography indicates the manufacturing process. The legs were apparently formed from two small cups joined together with a small portion of clay used to smooth the join in the angle beneath. The roughly horizontal alignment of elongate inclusions in these "cups" suggests that they were not thrown but were coiled. The rest of the vessel was probably coiled although the evidence for this rests on the horizontal alignment of elongate inclusions visible through radiography. This also showed that the protruding buttocks were formed by the addition of two hollow cups. The shoulders and stylised facial features were modelled.
Two similar (larger) examples were made by Nadia Kingsley (Wolverhampton University) with the following observations: it took about a day to make but over a longer period of time. The smaller the diameter the smaller the coil. The vessel was coiled on a turntable to ensure evenness. The walls were pierced with a needle before the application of the pinched-pot buttocks in order to prevent these from exploding off. The blackening on Nadia's pots was due to a saggar firing: the vessel was buried in a mixture of wire wool, salt and organic material as part of the firing; masking tape burnt off the surface to leave linear white marks. These were photographed thus: (1) b/w: PS 349431, (2) slide: K 149332 [both of Nadia's], K 149333 [one example on the right with ANE 136794 on the left] and K 149334 [ANE 136794 on the left and both of Nadia's pots on the right], (3) Ektachrome: PS 349551 [ANE 136794 on the left with one of Nadia's pots on the right], PS 349549 [both of Nadia's], PS 349550 [ANE 136794 on the left with both of Nadia's pots on the right].
J.P. Barbier, 'Altpersische Kunst', Basel: Galerie Beyeler, July/August 1962, no. 51;
Boston Museum Bulletin LXI (1963), frontispiece;
Catologo de la Exposicion de Antiguedades Persas (Madrid 1971), no. 75, with colour plate at the end;
G. Fehervari et al., 'Art of the Eastern World', 1996, pp. 28-29, no. 11;
Gabus & Jonod, 1967, pl. III in NY collection;
Prudence Oliver Harper cat. entry in Oscar White Muscarella (ed.), 'Ancient Art: The Norbert Schimmel Collection', Mainz: Philipp voz Zabern 1974, no. 150, where comments that a large group attributed to the southwest Caspian area made of similar distinct orange clay with round globular shapes and usually decorated with incised or punched designs, but ware and abstract style distinct from the excavated finds from Marlik and therefore possibly from a slightly different location;
E.L.B. Terrace, "Some Recent Finds From North-west Persia", 'Syria' 39/3-4 (1962), fig. 4.
- On display (G52/dc2)
- Exhibition history
G2/75, from 13 Apr-Dec 2006.
1997 Jul-31 Dec, BM exhibition: "Pottery in the Making", Museum of Mankind
G52/IRAN/24, from official opening 17/11/95 until 14/12/05.
G49/IRAN, 16 Jun-23 Dec 1994.
Iranian Room [IR], Jul 1975-ca 1990.
- Surfaces partly obscured by thin pale grey lime concretion; broken in two halves and restored; modern drill hole in base near the edge.
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number