Art of Human Figures from the Iberian Peninsula to the Indus

An amazing catalogue of female figurines from Neolithic times across the world, in places connected and witness to constantly shifting populations. Beautifully illustrated, with focus on Mehrgarh and the Indus Valley pieces which are seen in connection to a long, sophisticated tradition. "The exhibition at the Giancarlo Ligabue Foundation gathers numerous objects testifying to the ongoing representation of the female body with manifest sexual attributes during the Neolithic period, from Sardinia and India to Greece and Ara- bia. The Neolithic revolution was quickly superseded, however, during the fourth millennium, by a new, even more radical revolution – the urban revolution and its far-reaching consequences. Thus the world’s first states formed in a succession of civilizations, beginning with Egypt, passing through Mesopotamia, Iran and Central Asia to reach India, followed shortly thereafter by China and the Americas."

The caption for the stunning figurine above is: "Standing Female Statuette, Indus, Balochistan, Mehrgarh VII style (ca. 2700–2500 BC) Terracotta, H. 15 cm, W. 6 cm Ligabue Collection, Venice (Bibliography: Ligabue, Rossi-Osmida 2006, p. 185).

"This terracotta female figurine with a bald head, thin nose, incised eyes and eyebrows, broad shoulders, bent arms, broad hips and straight cylindrical legs is a rare example of a complete item of this category. Heads of this type have been found in numerous sites of Balochistan, in particular in the Kachhi plain at Chhalgarhi, associated with a comparable female fragmentary body, or at Pirak (unstratified). Many were excavated at Mehrgarh in level VII B (ca. 2700 BC), in particular one item attached to a male torso with broad shoulders. A carefully modelled female body found in the same level with a thin wash covering the applied parts was associated with one head of this type. The occurrence of bald-headed figurines calls to mind the funerary figurines from Shahdad, from a group of graves older than those which belong to the late Bronze, and which P. Amiet associates with Presargonic art. There are also striking similarities with some stone sculptures from Mesopotamia in the third millennium, in particular from Tello, Tell Asmar and Mari. Such parallels foresee the links which one will try to establish between the later head of Dabarkot, the “king-priest” from Mohenjo-daro, the stone heads found in Helmand and at Mundigak. The question of exchange networks – obviously associated with phenomena of influences and diffusion from the point of view of symbolism and ideology – may explain the emergence of types which, at Mehrgarh, even if they are part of the same craft tradition, are linked with phenomena which can be outlined all over Middle Asia. J.C."

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Torino : Skira, 2018