Spiritual Landscapes


The Sumerian votive figurine: Carved of limestone or gypsum, these pious babies were left along the walls of the temple sanctuary dedicated to the ancient near-eastern god of fertile harvests, Abu. Like human beings, the figurines displayed different forms and features, but they all had two things in common: 1) they were tucked in the the soil of present-day Iraq until U of Chicago wrenched them for their own in 1905, and 2) they’ve been looking up at either dirt or sky since 2900 BCE.


Fertility figurines were placed in shaft tombs in ancient West Mexico. They are said to symbolize the continuity of life through one’s descendants.

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