Judean Pillar Figurine

Pottery Figurine, Judah, Iron Age II, 8th-6th century BCE 
clay, Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Judean or Judahite pillar figurines (JPF's) are common in Judah during the First Temple period (ca. 800–586 BCE).Thousands of these household objects have been found but do not seem to be present in Judah following the Babylonian conquest in 586 BCE.

JPFs are clay female figurines with heads rendered largely in two major types: those that are handmade and those that are mold-made. The handmade heads are fashioned in a rudimentary way, with their faces pinched to form two eyes. The heads made from molds display hairstyles resembling Egyptian wigs, with rows of curls, and defined facial features. A solid cylindrical pillar is used for the bodies of both types of JPFs. Both types also have over-sized breasts, under which the arms curve.

Usually identified with either the goddess Astarte or the goddess Asherah, it is thought they were kept as household amulets to enhance fertility and offer protection during childbirth.


judean-pillar-figurine

Relating to or associated with people living in the territory of the southern kingdom of Judah during the divided monarchy, or what later became the larger province of Judah under imperial control. According to the Bible, the area originally received its name as the tribal territory allotted to Judah, the fourth son of Jacob.

Canaanite mother goddess

One of the great Canaanite goddesses frequently paired with the storm god Baal. Her name takes several forms across the ancient Near East including Ashtart and Ashtoreth. She is associated with both fertility and war, and is called “lady of heaven” in Egyptian texts.

Of or relating to ancient lower Mesopotamia and its empire centered in Babylon.

The stage of development during which humans used iron weapons; in the ancient Near East, approx. 1200 to 500 B.C.E.

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