Judean pillar figurines: a study
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
vii, 75 pages
ProgramTowson University. Jewish Studies Program
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[From Chapter 1: Introduction] Over one thousand small female terra cotta figurines have been discovered in almost every archaeological excavation within the region of ancient Judah in contexts dating from the eighth to the sixth century B.C.E (Kletter 1996: 4, 40-41)[...] These standing "pillar" female figurines are characterized by moulded or handmade heads, large exaggerated breasts, and columnar lower bodies. Some of the bodies are solid and handmade or moulded like the head; some bodies are wheel-turned and hollow (Kletter 1996: 19)[...] Intriguingly, despite their large number, wide spread distribution and remarkable appearance, the absence of any inscriptions on the JPFs or any direct biblical or other textual statements directly linking to the JPFs has sparked a vigorous debate among scholars concerning the figurine's function and purpose[...] This present study seeks to discover new insights, such as differences in the various types of JPFs found in the geographical regions of ancient Israel and the contexts of the finds, breakage patterns, and assemblages with other objects to suggest conclusions concerning their purpose. To this end, I created a database derived from Raz Kletter's published tabulation and catalogue of the typology, location, context, changes in the size and shape of the figurines in various regions, breakage patterns, and the site, square, location of the finds of JPFs, the association of JPFs with other artifacts, and bibliographic reference to each find (Kletter 1996: 147-231)[...] The data in this study suggests three possible uses of the JPFs: (1) objects used in sorcery 6 or magic, (2) cult objects for fertility or other feminine purposes; or (3) objects representing or related to the goddess Asherah. In many ways these three are similar.