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Female Figure, c. 2500–2300 B.C.

Bastis Master, Cycladic

Credit: Gift of Ben Heller

This statuette of a female figure was produced by the Early Bronze Age culture that flourished in the Cyclades Islands of Greece in the second half of the third millennium B.C. It conforms to what modern scholars have called the Late Spedos type of folded-arm figure and has been attributed to the Bastis Master, so named after the previous owner of a work now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The Kimbell’s sculpture would originally have measured about 55 centimeters, placing it among the artist’s larger and more developed works. The Bastis Master is known to have used a four-part canon of proportions, with divisions at the shoulders, pubic triangle, and knees. His style is typified by long, angular heads with a prominent, arching nose and rounded chin; curving incisions; small, wide-spaced breasts; and a clearly marked pubic triangle. Two red dots on the right cheek are all that remain of what would originally have been more extensive painted decoration.

Figures of this kind were typically placed in burials, along with marble vessels and other funerary offerings. Because the original burial conditions of most folded-arm figurines were never recorded, their function remains a matter of speculation. They were perhaps magical representations of venerated ancestors, companions for the dead, cult images of a divinity, or even toys.

Adult: Female Figure

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Kimbell Art Museum, Acoustiguide Inc.



(Ben Heller, New York), by 1955;

acquired by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1970; gift of Ben Heller, New York.

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