Figurines Naqada I Period, c.3900-3600 BC. (1 of 7)
The earliest representations of men and women were clay, stone, bone or ivory. A distinctive group called ‘tags’ includes representations of
animals and birds, as well as humans. They're grooved at the lower end, and sometimes pierced with holes. Found in Predynastic burials as groups lying along the forearm of the body, some show traces of leather tied at either end, and remnants of thongs tied in the holes and grooves, suggesting an association with leather
artefacts such as clothing or bags.
The function of these figures is unknown: they might be human or divine, indicators of status, or protective amulets. Equally ambiguous is their sex.
Copyright Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford 27/04/11