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Figurine 9th–10th centuries, Fustat (medieval Cairo), Egypt Bone Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1969.2.93


While it might be easy to label this minute figure carved out of bone a "doll," the function of the statuette remains unclear. It may have been a toy, but the holes pierced through the chest suggest that it may have been tied to another object and thus fulfilled amuletic functions. What is clear, however, is that the body of the figure was carved quickly and easily from a piece of bone. The deep cuts that form the arms and legs suggest a human body and are not modeled naturalistically. More detailed attention is given to the figurine's head, with its delicately carved ears, nose, mouth, and especially large eyes.

Bibliography: Rodziewicz 2012, 9–20, pls. 47 and 99; Bacharach and Rodenbeck 2002; and Scanlon 1968, 16–17; 1964.

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