Carved and incised bone peg with large eyes and arched eyebrows. The nose in slight relief with purse lips below. Three lines to delineate the neck.
The tapered base to fit into a cloth doll body. A couple of ancient holes below.
Commonly referred as ‘Coptic dolls’, these figurines seem to appear suddenly in Egypt and Palestine, coinciding with the Arab conquest. Some see them as toys meant to prepare girls for motherhood, other as fertility figurines. Becoming popular in all levels of society, they disappeared by the end of the 11th century, probably because of a stricter application of Islamic laws that ban figurative representations.
For related examples, cf. pl. 6, p. 306 in: Ariel Shatil, “Bone Figurines of the Early Islamic Period: The So Called ‘Coptic Dolls’ from Palestine and Egypt”, pp. 296-314 in: Selena Vitezović (ed.) Close to the Bone: Current Studies in Bone Technologies. Belgrade 2016.
Coptic Egypt, early Islamic Period, 7th to 9th century AD
H. 6.6 cm (2.6 in)
Intact, nice example with yellow staining.
Ex collection of a Manhattan, New York professor, acquired in the 1970's.
The authenticity of the object is unconditionally guaranteed.