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Jeanny Vorys Canby

2003 “A Figurine From Urkesh: A 'Darling' From Troy to Mesopotamia,”
Iraq 65, pp. 171-173.
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     The author presents a lead figurine from Urkesh (A9.86 [pictures here]; height 7.0 cm), only the upper half is preserved, representing a woman and compared with similar objects exchanged by merchants travelling from Mesopotamia to Anatolia.
     The figurine is cast with facial features displaying a cheerful expression. The woman is represented as nude, with a high collar necklace, the breast rendered with small knobs; the back of the figurine is flat.
     A comparison is established with a parallel from Troy (3rd millennium BC) and with other moulds from Akhisar, Abu Habba and Izmir (unfortunately, all lacking proper stratigraphic information). Later on, further specimens, this time provided with a specific archaeological context, were found at Tell Brak (Khabur valley) and at Titriş (eastern Turkey), the latter being dated to late Early Bronze III, perfectly fitting with our artefact.
     About the Anatolian character of Urkesh's figurine, it “was also assumed because of links to the numerous early second-millennium lead figurines and moulds from the Assyrian colonies in Anatolia that have been considered of local manufacture. This attribution may also be questioned. The figurines have indeed been found at Anatolian sites, but they were found only in the houses of Assyrian merchants, and not in later periods” (p. 173).
     The findspots of such figurines are explained by the author as such: “The locations of the sites where the figurines have been found, Urkesh, Brak and Troy, make it likely that the travellers were involved in trade between metal-rich Anatolia and metal-poor Mesopotamia” (p. 172), while “the home of the figurine type could be somewhere outside Anatolia, perhaps in northern Syria or Iraq where moulds were common and lead figures continued to be produced” (p. 173).

[M. De Pietri – November 2019]