Canaanite fertility figurine

Canaanite fertility figurine
Tel Miqne (Revadim), Israel
Late Canaanite period, 13th century BCE
H: 11 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1982-219

This unique, mold-made clay figurine is decorated in relief with a wealth of detail, which simultaneously depicts the outside and inside of a woman's body. The two arms create a roundish frame (possibly a womb), in which twin fetuses are visible, each one clutching a breast. In the lower part of the figurine is a graphic depiction of the woman dilating her vagina in preparation for childbirth. Her thighs are embellished with the tree of life motif. The figurine may have been used as a charm by women in childbirth. In Canaanite texts from Ugarit, Ashera, the wife of the god El, is mentioned as the mother of seventy divine sons. She is also called Qudshu (goddess of fertility) and Rahmay (the one of the womb). As Rahmay she appears in a Ugaritic myth giving birth to a pair of "gracious and beautiful gods." The figurine may be an illustration to this mythological tale.

The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Pidem Fund, London