Plank-Shaped Figure, 2100-1900 BCE
Early Cypriot III or Middle Cypriot I
Greece and Turkey, Cyprus
Ceramic and paint
9 ¾ × 4 3/16 × 7/8 in. (24.8 × 10.6 × 2.2 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
CA 62056

Photo: Paul Hester
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This terracotta object is one of four in the Menil Collection that was likely produced in the final period of the Early Cypriot Bronze Age (2100–1900 BCE). It is decorated in a distinctive technique known as red polished ware, which was produced locally on the island of Cyprus. Incised decoration, filled with an added white substance, appears to emphasize abstract features as well as possibly imitating jewelry and textile patterns. These figures are often identified by scholars as plank figures or plank-shaped figurines on account of the flat profile, rectangular body, and schematic representation of human features, such as eyes, ears, and noses. Most plank figures with archaeological provenience (findspots) originate from tombs, but some fragmentary examples come from domestic contexts. The archaeological provenience of this figure, however, is unknown.