A nice Middle Elamite terracotta goddess, standing with her hands cupping her breasts, wearing earrings, bracelets, necklaces shoulder-straps with a star pendant etc.
Size: 145 mm.
Condition: Superb, very detailed with excellent surface
Cf. Sotheby’s, Antiquities, New York, December 17, 1998, lot 443.
The terracotta figurines are considered to be among the most original of Susa’s artistic expressions. In successive phases over a period of about three millennia, the inhabitants of the Susiana plain fashioned the clay they found beneath their feet into animal and human forms, first by hand and later by using molds. By the latter means they bestowed upon their figurines, a great variety of ornaments, such as elaborate earrings, diadems, necklaces (some times bearing star pendants) and anklets, and ringbone shoulder-straps, as in the present examples. These were produced outside the realm of official commissions, although some of the cast examples were made by skilled craftsman and are of very high quality. These small figures were intended for private individuals and their inspiration. Objects of this type are chiefly of interest for what they reveal about Susians’ daily preoccupations and the evolution of their mode of thought. It should be noted that a great majority of Susian figurines demonstrate a complete independence from Mesopotamian production, except in times when Susa was under Akkadian or Babylonian rule.
A few examples of Susian figurines, such as these ones, were fashioned with a great variety of ornamentation. A few appear to have made their way into private or public collections. This includes the examples excavated by Roland de Mecquenem in Susa (1897-1946) and now conserved under inventories Sb 7797 and Sb 7763 in the Museum de Louvre, Paris.
For these examples see: P. O. Harper, J. Aruz, F Tallon, The Royal City of Susa, Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ex cat.), 1993, p. 132, nos. 132-133.