Please read my initial post below, and then my instructor's question to my post. I need a response to her questions.
Naqada male figurines
Naqada figurines are mythical characters that were found in ancient Egyptian culture. The male figurines had beards and were even shaped in the form of animals such as the birds with their long beaks. These characters symbolized power in the society that was associated with the men (Gimbutas). These male figurines were also thought to be for the protection of the people in the society. When they were found in temples and other sacred places, the conveyed the message of power and authority that can be associated with such places. Still, in ancient Egypt, there was a tendency to represent the goddesses with a structure that appeared like the beak of a bird. Such an animal symbolism has been described by Gimbutas and depict how goddesses were crafted to look like animals such as birds that were of significant traditional functions. They were also found in the temples and were used for religious ceremonies where people were blessed or cleansed.
This is an ancient figurine from the Halaf culture that dates back 5000B.C. The character symbolizes fertility with the egg shaped limbs of a woman and the hands that are surrounding the breasts. Symbolism in this character is representational with the arms, breasts, and the head. This character was used to symbolize the process of regeneration of the human species by members of the culture. The long neck and beak-like structure show that this was a bird goddess like the ones found in temples as observed by Gimbutas. People came to such goddesses with the hope of receiving blessings for them to bear more children and continue with regeneration (Gimbutas).
Shaar Hagolan is a mythical character that is shaped in the form of a woman. The big buttocks in the image represent the shape of a woman perhaps who is fertile for childbearing purposes. The buttocks have been shaped like eggs to convey the great message of fertility and recreation as mentioned by Gimbutas. Rituals were performed before this goddess to bless women so that they can bear more children in the course of their lives. The bird goddesses like this one were found in temples for religious purposes.
Marija Gimbutas. The World of the Goddess. N.p., 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
Ancient Pages. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
Institute of Archaeology Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sha'ar Hagolan. Digital image. N.p., 19 Nov. 04. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
The Walters Art Museum. Featured Categories. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
Gimbutas, Marija. "The World of the Goddess" Web.
“ The Walters”. http://art.thewalters.org/
“The ancient pages” http://www.ancientpages.com/
Thanks for jumping in here to kick off the discussion. I see these figures as kind of ambivalent (with two possibilities), or even multivalent (with many dimensions and possibilities) with regard to gender. Can you speak a bit more, however, as to how one can be interpreted as male, one as female, and one as perhaps neither or both or something else?
I think your choices can fit our discussion prompt, but be a bit more specific and give some of your own ideas in seeing these figures!