Male Figure Before a Goddess Drawing Aside Her Mantle

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Overall: 7/8 × 7/16 in. (2.3 × 1.1 cm)
The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York
Morgan Seal 945

For the ancient Near East, the act of procreation symbolized creation itself. The female figure in this scene reveals only her pubic area as if to emphasize this idea of procreation rather than mere carnality. The hand-to-mouth gesture of the male figure, as well as his downward-stretched arm, document his astonishment at the symbolic truth being revealed to him. The empty space between the figures emphasizes their gestures. The scene is framed by natural and mythical animals.

Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908

"In 945 and 946, the nude female is partly clothed, but the mantle falling over one leg, far from covering her nudity, serves only to accentuate it. This is especially true in 945, where she is shown holding the mantle to one side. The male personage facing her in 946 is clad much like the worshiper in 910. in what has been judged to be royal attire (in 945 only his cap is like that in 910). The fact that the nude female usually appears with a mantle in scenes in which she is associated with such a personage, for example in Louvre A.934, may indicate that this rendering illustrates her specific aspect in relation to that figure, presumably a king."--Porada, CANES, p. 124-125


Male figure before goddess drawing aside her mantle, bird perched on her finger -- Secondary motif: two sitting lions, facing, above guilloche -- Below it, ibex pawed by griffin.