Located at the MFA in Boston, the statuette is a small (16.1 cm tall) figurine of a Minoan goddess. It is made of ivory with accents in gold, including two snakes wrapped around the goddess's arms, her girdle, crown, and even nipples.

The object is believed to have come from the bronze age of Crete (circa 1600-1500 B.C.) , but many scholars doubt it's authenticity for various reasons. Most importantly, because very few pieces made of ivory have been discovered from this period, but also because of the physical characteristics of the figure. Her face and body shape are strikingly modern. My art history professor claims the statuette looks to her more like a Barbie doll than ancient Minoan woman, even if she is idealized.

Many attempts to prove the age of the object (including carbon dating tests) have proved unsuccessful due to the nature of the material. Past restoration efforts used modern glues which permeated the ivory, causing the tests to be inconclusive.

The statuette was acquired by the museum in 1914. It was at one time the only piece in the museum with elaborate security measures, including a case that would automatically seal itself in case of fire.

MFA Online Collections Database. http://www.mfa.org/artemis/fullrecord.asp?oid=150499&did=200.
Wohlauer, Gilian. A Guide to the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 1999.

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