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The exhibit

Koumasa. 2700 - 2400 BC

Marble figurines are characteristic creations of Cycladic culture in the 3rd millennium BC. The Cycladic-type figurines found in Crete, whether imported or locally produced in the Cycladic style, attest to the extensive and multifaceted contacts between Crete and the Cyclades. This figurine from Koumasa in the Mesara is imported from the Cyclades. It represents a standing, naked female figure with arms folded under the chest, the swollen belly indicating pregnancy. The chest, arms, toes and genitals are rendered by incisions. There are also faint traces of paint on the face, indicating that the eyes and mouth were painted. Most Cycladic-type figurines have been found in cemeteries of the Early Minoan II period, dated to around the middle of the 3rd millennium. However, they do not appear to have been intended exclusively for funerary use, since they were used before being placed in the graves. There are many theories about their purpose, for example that they depicted the deceased themselves or their attendants and servants, or ancestral figures. It is also very likely that they served a symbolic or religious function, especially in the case of figurines like this one. The swollen belly and strongly marked breasts and genitals refer directly to the concept of fertility. These figurines probably depict deities or worshippers and are connected to rituals and fertility cults which were central to the religions of the early civilisations of the Mediterranean.
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