Ashdoda Figurine

Ashdod, Israel
Israelite period, 12th century BCE
H: 17 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
IAA number : 68-1139

Photo © IMJ, by Meidad Suchowolski
Excavations at Ashdod, one of the five major Philistine cities, have yielded a rich assemblage of figurative art from the early Iron Age. Among the finds was a female figurine nicknamed "Ashdoda" by its excavators. This hand-modeled, schematically rendered figurine represents a seated woman merging with the throne on which she sits. The long neck with its birdlike head rests on the straight back of the four-legged throne. The black and red decoration on a background of white slip is characteristic of Philistine pottery. This type of stylized female figurine is unknown in the local repertoire of representational art in both the Late Canaanite and Early Israelite periods. Its prototype is to be found in the Mycenaean seated female figurines believed to represent the "Mother Goddess." It seems likely that Ashdoda, found next to a cult place, represented a votive offering.

The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005
Zalmona, Yigal, ed., The Israel Museum at 40: Masterworks of Beauty and Sanctity, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2005