Kneeling female figure with pot on head - ROM2018_16147_43


Kneeling female figure with pot on head

Medium:Ceramic (earthenware)
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 4000-3000 BC
Period: Predynastic Period
14.9 × 5 × 5.1 cm
Object number: 910.92.13
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Realistic depiction of a kneeling human figure that most likely came from an Upper Egyptian burial.  The breasts and hair clearly indicate a female, who carries an open conical beaker on her head.  It is unclear whether this would represent some ritual act in favour of the deceased, or merely indicate a fact of everyday life;  women in ancient as well as modern Egypt routinely retrieved water by carrying the vessel on their heads. There may be a small cushion under the vessel in order to stabilize the vessel. The figure’s face is round with smooth cheeks. The eyes, eyebrows and mouth are crudely incised. She has a large nose with two holes for the nostrils. The shoulder-length hair is applied in separate strands, clearly visible in the back. Her arms are simple rolls of clay without hands.  The right arm curves up to hold the vessel, while the left arm is not as high and is bent at the hand.  She has drooping breasts which suggest that she is an older woman. The figure is rounded off at the knees with no separation between the thighs which suggests that the figure is meant to be wearing a dress or skirt.

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