This mysterious object has both avian and
anthropomorphic features. The smooth flat
surface is devoid of any detail, featuring two
wings/arms either side of a ‘tear-drop’ shaped
body. The only interruption to the surface is the
beak-like protrusion from the centre of the face.
The chances of accurately identifying the
function of this or indeed any piece from non-
literate societies without contextual evidence are
slim. However, certain conclusions can be drawn.
Firstly, the piece is evidently non-utilitarian, as it
has no wear marks, and in any case is
constructed in a manner unsuited to robust
usage. Secondly, it is made from a material that
was excessively rare and hard to work at the
time, suggesting that it was an elite possession,
and that it probably had a non-secular function.
Most early groups objectified animals, and then
humans, as religious and ritual imagery, as it was
these that were imbued with spiritual values, and
were a more effective means of symbolizing
qualities than abstract notions and concepts.
What we know about society at the time suggests
that there was a hierarchy that was only familiar
with such otherwordly concepts at the highest
level; we can therefore safely assume that thus
piece was owned by, and used by, a high-
ranking member of the society, and that s/he
was probably involved in some ritual function
within the society. The rarity of this piece, and
the consummate skill with which it has been
made, makes it a truly exceptional piece of
- (OF.007 (LSO))