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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Material| ▸ |Terracotta Antiquities||View Options:  |  |  | 

Terracotta Figures

Terracotta is a type of hard-baked clay, produced by means of a single firing. Terracotta is usually un-glazed so-called "buff" clay. Archaeologists, art historians, and Forum's staff refer to clay objects such as sculptures or tiles, made without a potter's wheel as terracotta. We refer to vessels, lamps and objects made on the potter's wheel as pottery (even if it is buff clay). Terracottas were initially hand molded. Later came the development of the clay mold, with which the artisan could push the soft clay into the mold, and produce a fine terracotta on the spot. This was certainly one of the first examples of mass production. This mold could provide a limited number of copies before it lost definition. The results were beautiful. The Greek terracotta craftsman was called coroplast, which is Greek for "doll maker." These terracottas were mass produced, and almost anyone in the society could afford them. Terracotta figures were used either for religious purposes, as tools for the veneration of the gods and goddesses, or for secular purposes, as toys for the living and gifts from friends for the departed.

Unmounted pieces can be mounted by Forum for prices starting at $25 per piece. Request mounting in the checkout comments and we will respond by email with the price and a description of the mount, stand or base.

Canaanite Offering Vessel, Clay Kernos with Four Pedestalled Bowls, c. 1700 - 900 B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Canaanite| |Offering| |Vessel,| |Clay| |Kernos| |with| |Four| |Pedestalled| |Bowls,| |c.| |1700| |-| |900| |B.C.|
In the typology of ancient Greek pottery, the kernos (plural kernoi) is a cult offering vessel, with a pottery ring or stone tray to which are attached several small vessels for holding offerings. The Greek term is also applied to similar compound vessels from other cultures in the Mediterranean, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and South Asia. Amiran photo 350, is a kernos from Megiddo, dated Iron I, 1200 B.C. 1000 B.C. It has a similar ring base. but with eight ornate vessels of various shapes attached. Amiran assumed it was used in the First Fruits offering and notes the form originated in the Mycenaean-Minoan world. Pande fig. 12 is simpler kernos with three small bowls on a ring (without the pedestals) from Mycenae, Middle Minoan III levels, 1700 - 1600 B.C. We do not know of another example with pedestalled bowls.
AL23895. Canaanite kernos, cf. Pande fig. 12, see Amiran photo 350, Choice, reconstructed, c. 1700 - 900 B.C.; 12.5cm tall, buff clay kernos, four shallow bows, each on an individual column pedestal, joined at the sides, holes in the walls connecting them, the pedestals on a ring base, ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); very rare; $2200.00 SALE PRICE $1980.00


Middle Elamite, Susa, Terracotta Fertility Goddess, c. 1500 - 1000 B.C.

|Western| |Asiatic| |Antiquities|, |Middle| |Elamite,| |Susa,| |Terracotta| |Fertility| |Goddess,| |c.| |1500| |-| |1000| |B.C.|
Susa was settled about 4000 B.C. and has yielded striking pottery finds from that prehistoric period. A rich production followed of objects for daily use, ritual, and luxury living, finely carved in various materials or fashioned of clay. Monumental sculpture was made in stone or bronze, and dramatic friezes were composed of brilliantly glazed bricks. Among the discoveries are tiny, intricately carved cylinder seals and splendid jewelry. Clay balls marked with symbols offer fascinating testimony to the very beginnings of writing; clay tablets from later periods bearing inscriptions in cuneiform record political history, literature, business transactions, and mathematical calculations.
AT23899. Elamite Terracotta Fertility Goddess; Harper Susa fig. 133, Superb, complete and intact, c. 1500 - 1000 B.C.; mold made, beige clay, 15.3 cm (6") tall, standing facing holding bare breasts in cupped hands, nude but for herringbone shoulder straps crossing between the breasts, earrings, torque necklaces, and bead belly chains, navel and the pubic triangle indicated, ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); $1750.00 SALE PRICE $1575.00


Northern Syria, Terracotta Flask with Fertility Goddess, Late 3rd - Early 2nd Millennium B.C.

|Terracotta| |Antiquities|, |Northern| |Syria,| |Terracotta| |Flask| |with| |Fertility| |Goddess,| |Late| |3rd| |-| |Early| |2nd| |Millennium| |B.C.|
In Excavations at Tell Qasile, Mazar reports finds of two anthropomorphic vessels depicting a fertility goddess. He discusses other fertility goddess vessels found from Egypt to Greece. Some are pierced through the breasts. He suggest they were filled through the top and an offering was made by pouring through the side holes, perhaps milk. The fertility goddess on this vessel does not resemble those on the vessels discussed and referenced and is not pierced through the breasts. It is pierced through a hole that might represent the naval or vagina.

This fertility goddess form with a "bird's beak" nose and annulet eyes and breasts is a type found in considerable numbers in many Northern Syria sites, dated from the 3rd to the Early 2nd millennium B.C. We do not know of another similar vessel.
AT23896. See Tell Qasile pp. 78 - 82 for discussion of "anthropomorphic" vessels, cf. Ladders to Heaven pp. 224 - 225, 184 - 195 for similar goddess figures, Choice, complete and intact but for small chips to base, tiny chips to rim; 3.9 cm tall, 3.5 cm to rim of vessel, early 2nd millennium B.C.; pink-beige terracotta, globular flask, flat bottomed trumpet base, short neck, everted mouth, rounded rim, goddess figure attached at side and shoulder with her head extending above the rim, she has a "bird's beak" nose, annulet eyes and breasts, collar or necklace, and arms at sides, goddess and vessel pierced through at her naval or groin; ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); $850.00 SALE PRICE $765.00 ON RESERVE







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REFERENCES

Alex G. Malloy, Inc. Egyptian Art and Artifacts, Summer 1980. (New York, 1980).
Badre, L. Les Figurines Anthropomorphes en Terre Cuite a L'age du Bronze en Syria. (Paris, 1980).
Bailey, D. Catalogue of the Greek Terracottas in the British Museum, Vol. IV: Ptolemaic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt. (London, 2008).
Besques, S. Catalogue Raisonn des Figurines et Reliefs en Terre-Cuite Grecs trusques et Romains. (Paris, 1954-1992).
Besque, S. Figurines et reliefs grecs en terre cuite. (Paris, 1994).
Besques, S. Tanagra Collection des Maitres. (Paris, 1950).
Burn, L. & R. Higgins. Catalogue of the Greek Terracottas in the British Museum Vol. III: Hellenistic. (London, 2001).
Casal, J.-M. "Mundigak: l'Afghanistan l'aurore des civilisations" in Archeologia, No. 13, Nov. 1966, pp. 30 - 37.
Chesterman, J. Classical Terracotta Figures. (London, 1974).
Harper, P. The Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre. (New York, 1993).
Higgins, R. Catalogue of the Greek Terracottas in the British Museum, Vol. I: 730 - 330 B.C. (London, 1954).
Higgins, R. Catalogue of the Greek Terracottas in the British Museum, Vol. II: 730 - 330 B.C. (London, 1959).
Jones, F. "Heads and figures: a bequest" in Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 32, no. 1 (1973), pp. 4 - 9.
Karageorghis, V., G. Merker, & J. Mertens. The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art: Terracottas. (New Haven, 2018).
Kaufmann, C. gyptische Terrakotten der griechisch-rmischen und koptischen Epoche, vorzugsweise aus der Oase El Faijum (Frankfurter Sammlung). (Cairo, 1913).
Keel, O. Gott weiblich: Eine verborgene Seite des biblischen Gottes. (Freiburg, 2008).
Koldewey, R. Das Wieder Erstehende Babylon. (Leipzig, 1913).
Muscarell, O., ed. Ladders to Heaven: Art Treasures from Lands of the Bible. (Toronto, 1981).
Skupinska-Lovset, I. The Ustinov collection: Terracottas. (Oslo, 1978).
Spycket, A. The Human Form Divine: From the Collections of Elie Borowski. (Jerusalem, 2000).
Stevenson, W. The Grotesque Pathological Representations in Greek and Roman Art. (Ann Arbor, 1975).
Torok, L. Hellenistic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt. (Rome, 1995).
Tripathi, V. & Srivastava, A.K. The Indus Terracottas. (New Delhi, 2014).
Uhlenbrock, J. The Terracotta protomai from Gela: A Discussion of local Style in archaic Sicily. (Rome, 1989).
Urmila, S. Terracotta Art of Rajasthan (From Pre-Harappan and Harappan Times to the Gupta Period). (New Delhi, 1997).
Walters, H. Catalogue of the Terracottas in the British Museum. (London, 1903).
Young, J. & S. Young. Terracotta Figurines from Kourion in Cyprus. (Philadelphia, 1955).
Zwalf, W. ed. Buddhism Art and Faith. (New York, 1985).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
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