"Asshurbackawarts"
c. 1850 BCE/ c. 1750 BCE
Nilotic/Nubian(?)
Marble/alabaster
40cm

 

 

Originally thought of as a female fertility figure, it is now known that this statuette is composed of two separate pieces with different provenance, skillfully combined at some point after 1200 BCE.

The upper portion, with its diminutive breasts and dolorous expression, is believed to be a "brit'ny," purchased at temples by young maidens in the hope that divine intervention would make them more appealing to the opposite sex.

The lower portion is not, as originally believed, the erotically enlarged thighs and hips of a temple prostitute, but the buttocks of another statue entirely, perhaps representing either bountifulness or a diet heavy in carbohydrates.

Scholars have been polarized by this image, some believing it to be an androgynous cult figure, others seeing it as a some kind of a practical joke.

 

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