CORRECTION made 6/30/13, added the photo of the bust. (3rd photo.)
This is for Lesley Carter’s travel theme.
This draped bust, displayed near the Venus de Milo, was sculpted around the same time (first century BC). The bust was adapted to a lower block that was carved apart, and which included the pelvis and sculptured legs. (I think… relying on Google translation.)
This next one is amazing. Here is what the info sheet said (emphasis mine):
Discovered at Ain Ghazal during the joint Jordanian-American archaeological excavations carried out in 1985 and subsequently restored in Washington at the Smithsonian Institution Conservation Analytical Laboratory from 1985 to 1996, the statue has been loaned to the Louvre for a period of 30 years. At 9,000 years old, this is the oldest work presented at the Louvre.
Ain Ghazal (the “gazelles’ spring“) was founded in the eighth millennium BC and prospered for 2,000 years.
The statue belongs to what is known as the pre-Pottery Neolithic Period, a Neolithic culture which existed during the seventh millennium BC throughout the whole Fertile Crescent. Structures dating from this period were produced using plaster obtained through the calcification of the local gypsum, with the aid of primitive pyrotechnics.
New practices emerge from new ways of thinking: skulls from certain bodies — possibly those of local leaders — were preserved separately and modelled with an outer layer of plaster or clay, which seems to suggest the existence of some form of ancestor worship. Almost 30 plaster statues, including this one, were discovered in shallow ditches at Ain Ghazal. These take the form of standing figures or busts, which can be either single or double headed.
All of these effigies were designed to stand upright vertically. They were buried in small groups, on several occasions.
We do not know their meaning, with their purpose probably being an imaginary or ritualistic one, although we can assume that they were intended to encourage the cohesion of the community.
The Ain Ghazal statue is presented at the Louvre thanks to an agreement with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan. this is the first time that a work belonging to a Middle Eastern country, which retains ownership of the item, has been exhibited along with the Louvre’s permanent collections. In Exchange, the French Museums Department and the Museum of the Louvre have contributed to the restoration and preservation of a monument in Jordan, a limestone and painted stucco sanctuary built during the second century BC and replaced by the Roman temple, which can be seen there today.