A Modelled Parthian Terracotta Fertility Goddess Figurine


A finely modelled Parthian terracotta kourotrophic figurine depicting a female wearing a richly jewelled robe. Her facial features are clearly portrayed in characteristic Parthian traditions, including deep-grooved eyebrows, two almond-shaped eyes, a pyramidal nose and a slightly arched lip that turns her facial expression into a gentle, sincere smile. She is presented wearing a back-mantle, fabric on both sides naturally hangs around her shoulders, accentuating feminine elegancy. The two locks of her hair are finely rendered by vertically displayed globular modellings along the two sides of her cheek. Under the mantel, she might also be wearing a beaded diadem. A beaded necklace decorates her neck, echoing the rich ornaments shown on her garment. The heavy drapery and beaded decoration of the garment, are naturalistically expressed through neatly-arranged incisions. One of her hands is presented placed in the middle of her chest, supporting her breast, which further confirms her identity as a fertility goddess.

The reverse appears to be plain and unworked.

Date: Circa 247 BC - AD 224
Condition: Fine condition, with signs of ageing to the surface. This object is mounted on a customised stand for display. The height of this object includes the measurement of the stand.


There is a rich corpus of terracotta figures with a strong association with the goddess Astoreth, whose name was altered to Ishtar within Assyro-Babylonian religions. The goddess Ishtar, who was derived from the Sumerian goddess Inaana, was worshipped as a significant female deity who represented fertility. She was the most important female deity in Mesopotamia throughout the second millennium BC. She was identified with the planet Venus and with the sunrise, and was recognised as the goddess of both sexual love and warfare. The Greeks identified her with the goddess of love, Aphrodite. This fine example presents ancient Parthian innovation in adopting a classical style and in embracing Mesopotamian traditions.

Weight 742.1 g
Dimensions W 6.9 x H 23 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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