Figure, Spedos type, 2700-2300 BCE
Early Cycladic II, Keros-Syros
Greece, Cyclades Islands
20 × 5 3/8 × 2 ¼ in. (50.8 × 13.7 × 5.7 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
CA 62038

Photo: Paul Hester
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Representing a woman, this full-bodied abstract figure with folded arms belongs to the Early Cycladic II period (approximately 2700-2300 BCE). The figure has the typical head of the Spedos type, which is U-shaped with only a modeled nose. The lightly incised pubic triangle, seen on other examples in the Menil Collection (particularly clear on CA 6019), is compressed. The deep groove separating the legs is matched by a corresponding but shallower groove on the backside, neither of which pierce through the figure. Other incised details are lightly incised, such as lines along the spine, base of the neck, upper arms, ankles, and toes. An area of red was once visible at the joint between the head and the neck, although it is no longer apparent, and additional features may have been added with pigment. Other surviving Cycladic figures feature painted eyes, mouths, dots, and vertical bands that decorated these sculptures.  

Purchased in 1962, the figure may have originated from the island of Amorgos in the Cyclades, although its archaeological provenience is unknown. The damage to the head, particularly the missing piece and the two channels visible on the back, are probably the result of its removal from the ground when first discovered. While the archaeological provenience of most of these figures is unknown, some were identified as grave goods in excavations of burial sites. The figures were found in a reclining position, as the angle of the carved feet prevents them from standing independently.