Red Polished Ware figurine cradling a child


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

Though schematised, the figurine is clearly intended to be female. She holds an infant lying in an arched cradle on her left arm. Her solid form is handmade, of Red Polished Ware. She has perforated ears (one is now missing). The incised decoration around the neck and on the body also defines the facial features and suggests a decorated garment. The human form was represented in Cypriot art from earliest times, but the first figures were rather rudimentary, with the arms and legs reduced to mere stumps. Most are of stone, though a cross-shaped series of picrolite (a soft smooth stone) became typical of the Chalcolithic era (4000/3900-2500 BC). This figurine belongs to a plank-shaped series that predominated in the years from about 2000 to 1850 BC. Most of these are similar to this example, but others have two heads or are in the form of 'combs' and 'brushes'. Many are of Red Polished Ware, but there is also a series of White Painted Ware that was the typical pottery fabric of the Middle Bronze Age (1950-1650 BC).


  • Title: Red Polished Ware figurine cradling a child
  • Date Created: -2100/-1900
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 26.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: handmade
  • Subject: child
  • Registration number: 1929,1014.1
  • Production place: Made in Cyprus
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Cyprus
  • Period/culture: Early Cypriot III; Middle Cypriot I
  • Material: pottery
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Burney, Sydney Bernard. Previous owner/ex-collection Lawrence, E H. Previous owner/ex-collection Cesnola, Alessandro Palma di

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