Magical Images & Isis


A female image in ivory from the early predynastic period in Badari
A female image in hippopotamus ivory from the early predynastic period fromBadari

As withso many things in Egyptology, there’s controversy surrounding the many female figurines that have been found throughout Egypt and spanning itslong history.

These figurinestake several forms. Some are standing females, usually nude with sexual characteristics emphasized (eyes, breasts, vulva). Some are abstracted into what have been called “paddle dolls”; more on themshortly. Some show a woman lying on a bed, often with a baby or child beside her. Others show a woman nursing a child.

The old gentlemen of early Egyptology initially guessed that the nude females and paddle dolls—some of them found in tombs—were “spirit concubines” for deceased Egyptian men. Because of course they did. However, the fact that they have been found in the tombs of women and children, too, throws a significant monkey wrench into that interpretation.

There’s also the more modern controversy about whether ancient female figurines…

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