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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.

Judaea, Terracotta Pottery Four-Horned Votive Altar, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Judaea,| |Terracotta| |Pottery| |Four-Horned| |Votive| |Altar,| |c.| |1st| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.|
The book of Exodus relates that God gave Moses instructions..."You shall make the altar...five cubits long and five cubits wide, the altar is to be square, and three cubits high. Make its horns on the four corners, the horns to be of one piece with it." Smaller four-horned pottery altars found in Israel date back to at least as early as the 10th Century B.C. (Dayagi-Mendels, p. 65). Our altar was probably intended as a votive gift to be filled with incense and left burning at a temple or shrine.
AA99528. Terracotta pottery four-horned votive altar, Choice, complete and intact, small surface only crack in interior, light encrustations, 14.5cm (5 3/4") tall, 9.3cm (3 5/8") maximum width, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.; buff-pinkish-white clay (Munsell color 7.5YR 8/2), four horned altar: W-shaped cut on each of the four sides of the square mouth, a cylindrical column body, square stepped base with 4 legs; ex Archaeological Center (Robert Deutsch, Tel Aviv, Israel), auction 65 (27 Sep 2018), lot 472; ex S.M. Collection (Herzliya Pituah, Israel); very rare; $2200.00 SALE PRICE $1980.00


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

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Canaanite,| |Offering| |Vessel,| |Pottery| |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; $1750.00 SALE PRICE $1575.00


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. cf. Harper Susa fig. 133, Superb, complete and intact, c. 1500 - 1000 B.C.; Elamite Terracotta Fertility Goddess; 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, blank reverse; ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); $1600.00 SALE PRICE $1440.00


Roman, Colorful Griffin Wall Painting Fragment, 1st Century A.D.

|Terracotta| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Colorful| |Griffin| |Wall| |Painting| |Fragment,| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

Depicts a winged griffin walking left looking back. Outlined in red, most of body in yellow beige, all on white and blue background; lower legs and top of head missing.

Found in Rome, Italy.
AM36056. Wall painting fragment; cf. Curtius, Die Wandmalerei Pompejus; cf. Herbig. Nugae Pompeianorum; Malloy, Ancient Art Catalogue, Winter 1975, 72d., Choice, 7 x 41/4 inches; two plaster fragments reattached; SOLD


Greek, Large Terracotta Female Head, 5th Century B.C.

|Terracotta| |Antiquities|, |Greek,| |Large| |Terracotta| |Female| |Head,| |5th| |Century| |B.C.|
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AT34361. 4 1/4" terracotta female head protome, Choice, 11 cm (4 1/4") high; red-brown terracotta; high floral tiara and large earrings, bound up curly hair; with base stand shown; lovely style; SOLD


Roman, Wall Painting Fragment, 1st Century A.D.

|Terracotta| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Wall| |Painting| |Fragment,| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.

Found in Rome, Italy.
AM36067. Wall painting fragment; cf. Curtius, Die Wandmalerei Pompejus; cf. Herbig, Nugae Pompeianorum; 3 x 2 inches, Choice, buff-yellow tendril pattern with blue background; on attractive plexiglass mount; SOLD


Greek, South Italian, Female Head Pendant Earring with Gold Leaf, 4th - 3rd Century B.C.

|Magna| |Graecia|, |Greek,| |South| |Italian,| |Female| |Head| |Pendant| |Earring| |with| |Gold| |Leaf,| |4th| |-| |3rd| |Century| |B.C.|
From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AS35493. Female head pendant (from earring); cf. Marshall, British Museum Catalogue, 2169. Ex. Malloy, Ancient Art and Antiquities, spring 1993, 63, Choice, 1 inches high; terracotta head of female, hair turned back with high tiara palmate, originally covered in gold leaf to give the appearance of a solid gold earring - some gold leaf remaining; back of head and headdress reattached, hook missing; very rare; SOLD


Indus Valley, Terracotta Humped Bull, c. 2500 - 1500 B.C.

|Central| |Asian| |Antiquities|, |Indus| |Valley,| |Terracotta| |Humped| |Bull,| |c.| |2500| |-| |1500| |B.C.|
AE61808. Indus valley terracotta bull; 4.5 inches; attached to vessel shard which now serves as a base, c. 2500 - 1500 B.C.; SOLD


Indus Valley, Terracotta Mother Goddess Bust, 3rd Millennium B.C.

|Central| |Asian| |Antiquities|, |Indus| |Valley,| |Terracotta| |Mother| |Goddess| |Bust,| |3rd| |Millennium| |B.C.|
Fertility cults were common in the prehistoric cultures of the Indus Valley and adjacent regions. Invariably female figurines were involved, commonly referred to as Mother Goddesses. Female figurines made in terracotta have been found at many sites including Nausharo in the Kacchi Plains, Nindowari in the Baluchistan Highlands, and Moenjodaro and Harappa in the Indus River Valley.
AE61835. Mother goddess bust, fragment from full figure, SOLD


Egypt, Terracotta Shabti, Thebes, 3rd Intermediate Period, 21st Dynasty, c. 1080 - 945 B.C.

|Shabtis|, |Egypt,| |Terracotta| |Shabti,| |Thebes,| |3rd| |Intermediate| |Period,| |21st| |Dynasty,| |c.| |1080| |-| |945| |B.C.|
The unfinished back preserves the fingerprints of the maker who pushed the clay into the mold 3000 years ago.
AE48865. Shabti, 5.4x1.8 cm, mold made, red terracotta, traces of white paint, Choice, mummiform, wearing tripartite bag wig, hands crossed left over right, sleeveless, holding hoes, blank reverse; SOLD







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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).
Byrn, R. "Lie Back and Think of Judah: The Reproductive Politics of Pillar Figurines" in Near Eastern Archaeology 67:3 (2004), pp. 137 - 151.
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).
Kletter, R. The Judean Pillar-Figurines and the Archaeology of Ashera. BAR Internation 636. (Oxford, 1996).
Koldewey, R. Das Wieder Erstehende Babylon. (Leipzig, 1913).
Koster, A. Description of the Collections in the Rijksmuseum G.M. Kam at Nijmegen XIII, The Bronze Vessels 2. (Gelderland, 1997).
Kozloff, A (ed.). Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection. (Cleveland, 1981).
Kozloff, A (ed.). More animals in ancient art: From the Leo Mildenberg collection. (Mainz, 1986).
Morris, D. The Art of Ancient Cyprus. (Oxford, 1985).
Muscarell, O., ed. Ladders to Heaven: Art Treasures from Lands of the Bible. (Toronto, 1981).
Press, M. The Iron Age Figurines of Ashkelon and Philistia. Ashkelon 4 (Winona Lake, IN, 2012).
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).

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