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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Hittite Art : Syrio-Hittite Terracotta Maternity Figure
Syrio-Hittite Terracotta Maternity Figure - P.0605
Origin: Houran, Syria
Circa: 2500 BC to 1500 BC
Dimensions: 4" (10.2cm) high
Catalogue: V1
Collection: Near Eastern
Medium: Terracotta

$3,600.00
Location: United States
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Description
The Hittite Empire emerged in central Anatolia from fairly humble agricultural beginnings in the 2nd millennium BC, but by 1340 BC had become the dominant power in Mesopotamia. The expansion and consolidation of the empire saw its greatest expression under King Suppiluliumas I (c. 1380 -c. 1346 BC), who oversaw the establishment of a firm Hittite foothold in Syria. This was hotly contested territory, and while the Egyptian behemoth had swept aside most competition, they met extremely fierce opposition from the Hittites. This struggle for domination over Syria continued into the reign of Muwatallis (c. 1320- 1294 B.C.), culminating in the famous battle of Kadesh in 1299 BC. Although Ramses II claimed a great victory, the result was in fact probably more ambiguous. The Egyptians were at a disadvantage in terms or provisioning, and in terms of the great arms race of the time over a great new invention: iron. In any case, the Egyptians took considerable pains to placate local groups, setting up socioeconomic and matrimonial alliances with the Hittites and the lands they now occupied. Although we know comparatively little about Hittite civilisation, it is perhaps significant that these shadowy populations were such a fierce threat to what was then the world's greatest civilization that even Ramses the Great found it more beneficial to be their ally rather than their foe.

Older than memory, this is the great female deity, the goddess of fertility. Whatever guise she takes, her chief function is to make fecund the earth, men and beasts, to insure the continuity of life. Sometimes she fills other roles--as a goddess of wisdom, of love, or of war-- but her power over the fate of mankind is enormous. This votive was offered centuries ago by some person seeking her favor and protection. We do not know if the goddess granted the wishes of the ancient life, but we feel about her still the aura of benevolence and mystery - (P.0605)

 

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