Monash University
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Terracotta seated figure of Demeter

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posted on 2022-10-06, 03:09 authored by Centre for Ancient Cultures MuseumCentre for Ancient Cultures Museum

Greek mould-made terracotta seated figure of a veiled woman or goddess, possibly Demeter (Ceres), protector of the fertility of the earth, farming and wheat. She sits on a quadrilateral stool and holds a child on her left arm, possibly her daughter Kore (Persephone). Although the figure is in poor condition, Demeter’s facial features are still visible, although the details of the dress are badly worn. The feet are visible on a lower base. This type of figurine, found mainly in tombs or in the vicinity of temples, symbolises motherhood and would have been offered in exchange for the protection of children and the family line.

Object number: 127.067.9

Date: ca. 5th century B.C.


References: Burn, L., Higgins, R., Walters, H. B., and Bailey, D. M., Catalogue of Terracottas in the British Museum Terracotta, BMP, London, 1903-2001; Higgins, R., 'Terracottas', 1954, nos. 1380-1400; Nicholson, F., Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Pottery and Small Terracottas: A Brief Guide for the Small Collector, Shelley Stone, 1965; Higgins, R., Greek Terracottas; London: Methuen, 1967; Tzavella-Evjen, C., Greek and Roman Vases and Statuettes from the University of Colorado Collection, Athens: Archaiologikon Deltion, 1973, pp. 192-197. Langin-Hooper, S. M., Figurines in Hellenistic Babylonia: Miniaturization and Cultural Hybridity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Photo by Steve Morton