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Ritual Cult Figurines
6th century BCE
16 cm ~ fired clay, pigments


A curious custom in certain parts of the ancient near east was that only women born into one of the royal houses wore upper support garments. There was one exception, however. On the feast day of the queen a lottery determined 10 other women who would be allowed the privilege for a calendar year. As the wearing of a brassiere conveyed elevated status, women solicited luck from the goddesses by placing these small maiden forms on the altars of their particular cult. Words like "wonder" or "miracle" are occasionally found scratched into the base to make the supplication more appealing.



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