Female Figurines as Ritual Objects: the latest discoveries in the Mut Precinct at Karnak

Figurines have been found in Egypt already since prehistoric times, yet a certain aura of mystery still veils around these figurines. In particular, several figurines have been found in the Mut precinct at Karnak that will be the subject of this talk.

A Female Figurine from the Mut Precinct
A Female Figurine from the Mut Precinct


Friday, 18 January 2013 @ 7 p.m.


Alliance for Arts & Culture
#100 – 938 Howe St
Vancouver, BC


  • FREE – SSEA Members
  • $ 5 – General Public

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Eventbrite - Female Figurines as Ritual Objects: Recent Evidence from Karnak Temple

About the Speaker

Dr. Elizabeth Waraksa
Dr. Elizabeth Waraksa

A native of New Jersey, Elizabeth A. Waraksa received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the Johns Hopkins University in 2007. She is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Archaeology at Loyola Marymount University, and a Lecturer in the Program for the Study of Religion at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was previously a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral fellow and Librarian for Middle Eastern Studies. Her publications include a revised version of her dissertation, Female Figurines from the Mut Precinct: Context and Ritual Function, as well asthe entry on female figurines of the pharaonic period in the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. She has excavated at an Etruscan/Roman site in Umbria and at the Precinct of the Goddess Mut at Karnak in Luxor, and this summer she will join UCLA’s excavations at Jaffa (Tel Aviv).


This lecture will present the results of recent research concerning a corpus of ceramic female figurines dating between the New Kingdom and Late Period (ca. 1550-332 BCE) and excavated by the Johns Hopkins expedition to the Precinct of the Goddess Mut at South Karnak. In considering archaeological, art historical, material, and textual evidence, I will suggest that these objects were standardized, mass-produced ritual objects manipulated by magician-physicians in a variety of healing and preventative rites. I will also argue that the red paint remaining on many of the figurines signals that the objects were considered malevolent and thus ultimately needed to be destroyed. This new interpretation of Egyptian ceramic female figurines broadens our understanding of this type of object and brings the figurines out of their typical excavated context of refuse, resituating them in their context of use. (Courtesy: Elizabeth Waraksa)

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