Sumer, 13 cent BCE
Ivory and pigments
This exquisite sculpture is the pride of the Ralston wing of the Bagasse and Gematria Mumblestoats Museum. Discovered in 1985 at an ancient religious temple and water park in what is now southern Iraq, it represents a class of religious artifact known as a "donorpleader," used to solicit contributions from the poor to support the idle and dissolute priesthood of Sumer. The pigmentation around the eyes was renewed constantly and frequently asperged with water to make it seem that the statue was crying out with need. The beard is symbolic of the priesthood, since the figure is generally regarded as a female.
A companion piece, called a "djimm," the male equivalent of the Tammyfayeh piece, had been removed from the position of honor in the temple and apparently lost, although a similar, much worn and ravaged copy was found beneath the floors of the Sumer Imperial Prison.