Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2011

30 July 2012

Images of Woman and Child from the Bronze Age. Reconsidering Fertility, Maternity, and Gender in the Ancient World

Stephanie Lynn Budin

Images of Woman and Child from the Bronze Age. Reconsidering Fertility, Maternity, and Gender in the Ancient World

City: Cambridge

Year: 2011

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Description: Hardback, 390 p., 46 b/w illustrations, 25,3x21,5 cm


This book is a study of the woman-and-child motif – known as the kourotrophos – as it appeared in the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean. Stephanie Lynn Budin argues that, contrary to many current beliefs, the image was not a universal symbol of maternity or a depiction of a mother goddess. In most of the ancient world, kourotrophic iconography was relatively rare in comparison to other images of women and served a number of different symbolic functions, ranging from honoring the king of Egypt to adding strength to magical spells to depicting scenes of daily life. This work provides an in-depth examination of ancient kourotrophoi and engages with a variety of debates that they have spawned, including their role in the rise of patriarchy and what they say about ancient constructions of gender.


List of Illustrations [vii]

Acknowledgements [ix]

1. Introduction – Kourotrophic Iconography in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean: Origins and Meanings [1]

Theorizing the Kourotrophos: Where Sex Meets Gender [4]

Dealing with Figurines [25]

A Few Words on the Term “Kourotrophos” [29]

Inverse [32]

2. Egypt [35]

Egyptian Decorum [36]

The Divine Wet Nurse [38]

Parents and Nurses and Tutors [89]

Potency Figurines [117]

Ostraca and Wall Paintings: Die Wochenlaube [135]

Flasks [142]

Straddling the Gender Divide: Male Kourotrophoi [147]

3. The Levant and Anatolia [149]

The Levant [149]

Anatolia [173]

4. Mesopotamia and Iran [184]

Mesopotamia [184]

Iran [214]

5. Cyprus [221]

Maternity in the Cypriot Iconographic Record [221]

The Bronze Age Kourotrophoi of Cyprus [229]

6. The Aegean [269]

Minoan Crete [269]

Mycenaean Greece [299]

7. Conclusions [326]

Rare, Uncommon, Atypical [327]

The Ambiguity of Status [329]

The Matter of Gender [333]

Summary [346]

Bibliography [349]

Index [379]


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