002 Squatting Female - SUMER

002 Squatting Female - SUMER

Marble ?
H: 1.8 cm
Provenance: no indication
Late Uruk-Djemdet Nasr period. c. 3200-2900 B.C.

Ex collection: Ada Small Moore (no. 124)

Made of alabaster or marble, and polished.

Condition: bust somewhat worn but probably intact[1].

She is seated showing her right profile [2], has full cheeks and an aquiline nose. Her long hair is dressed in a braid, topped by a round cap with upturned brim.

There are carefully drilled depressions on the back, large and deep on top becoming smaller and lighter below, the eighth and last particularly so. Such drill-holes are characteristic of the Protoliterate Period; it is probable that this bust was used as a seal stone, and maybe also as a pendant or amulet [3], or both.

Two good parallels are similarly squatting female stamp seals in London [4] and New York [5].

Exhibited and Published:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Selections from the
Collection of the Ancient Near East Department (Tokyo, 1983), cat. no. 113.

Eisen, G.A.: Ancient Oriental Cylinder and other Seals with a Description of the Collection of Mrs. William H. Moore, OIP 47 (Chicago, 1940), no. 14.

1 The underside slightly irregular with a small hollowed out section.

2 As indicated by comparison with seated figures such as shown on a cylinder seal of the same period, Moore no. 102 (Eisen, G.A.: OIP 47 <1940>, no. 2), and another cylinder Kh. III 683 (Frankfort, H.: Stratified Cylinder Seals from the Diyala Region, OIP 72 <Chicago, 1955>, no. 312, pl. 31), showing 4 squatting pigtailed women.

3 Eisen, G.A.: op. cit., p. 23.

4 British Museum WA 120 963.

5 Metropolitan Museum of Art L.1983.125.5: Pittman, H., Aruz, J.: Ancient Art in Miniature. Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky (New York, 1987), no. 7, p. 50.