Carthaginian Terracotta Female Figurine

£ 300.00

A fine terracotta figurine of a Carthaginian woman or goddess. The figure stands upright on a moulded base or pedestal, hands clasped at her chest. Incised and moulded details remain, indicating the figure’s draped robes and headdress, possibly covered by a veil. Notably, a tie around the figure’s waist is rendered in the sign of Tanit, the powerful mother goddess of the Phoenician pantheon and the principal deity of the Carthaginian Empire by the 5th century BC. Votive figurines such as this were likely used as offerings to the goddess Tanit before long journeys or at the time of a burial.

Date: Circa 7th-3rd Century BC.
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onwards.
Condition: Fine; natural weathering of details around face and body; two minor, stable cracks; earthly encrustations around base and back.


Product Code: GS-83
Category: Tags: ,

The majority of Carthaginian figurines like this one were found submerged off the coast of Israel. Previously thought to have been the remains of a wrecked trading ship full of votive figurines, recent archaeological studies have revealed that these figurines were deposited in the sea at various times over a period of a few hundred years, roughly the 7th to 3rdcenturies BC. They were likely thrown overboard, along with vessels of wine, by Carthaginian sailors as offerings to the goddess Tanit, who was associated with fertility, seafaring journeys, and warrior strength, to pray for a safe journey. Carthage, located in present-day Tunisia, was initially a settlement of the legendary seafaring Phoenician civilization. It eventually gained independence as a city-state and became the centre of a powerful trading empire across the Mediterranean, famously rivalling the Roman Empire until its defeat in the 2nd century BC.


Dimensions W 4.7 x H 17.5 cm



North Africa

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