Figurines in Hellenistic Babylonia

Using the visual and tactile experience of small-scale figurines, Greeks and Babylonians negotiated a hybrid, cross-cultural society in Hellenistic Mesopotamia.

Author: Stephanie M. Langin-Hooper

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781108488143

Category: Art

Page: 350

View: 916


Using the visual and tactile experience of small-scale figurines, Greeks and Babylonians negotiated a hybrid, cross-cultural society in Hellenistic Mesopotamia.

Beyond Typology

This dissertation investigates the social role played by terracotta figurines in the Greek-Mesopotamian cross-cultural interactions of Hellenistic Babylonia.

Author: Stephanie Marie Langin-Hooper


ISBN: OCLC:858268666


Page: 1042

View: 497


This dissertation investigates the social role played by terracotta figurines in the Greek-Mesopotamian cross-cultural interactions of Hellenistic Babylonia. Previous studies of Hellenistic Babylonian terracotta figurines have largely been organized as typological catalogues, with an emphasis placed on organizing the vast number of figurines within an understood dichotomy of "Greek" or "Babylonian". This dissertation makes two unique contributions to the study of these figurines. The first is to highlight the limitations of typology, an organizational tool that has the effect of privileging some features of the figurines over others, as well as using those features to cement figurines into rigid, artificial hierarchies. Through deconstructing typologies, this dissertation allows for the methodological substitution of more flexible, "real life" systems of categorization. The second major contribution of this dissertation is to investigate how Hellenistic Babylonian figurines actively participated in social interactions that were organized not only along the lines of Greek vs. Babylonian ethnicity, but also other social roles such as gender, age, class, and profession. In this dissertation, typologies are replaced by a new methodology of investigating "trends" of similarity and difference, which can be used to access object identities and trace entanglements of human-object interaction based on the shifting, mutable affiliations suggested by bundled features of the figurines. I address these methodological and historiographic considerations in Part I of the dissertation. In Part II of this dissertation, these methodological approaches are used to trace the "trends" of similarity in the Hellenistic Babylonian figurines. Figurines are treated as interconnected social actors: through the sharing of particular features, some figurines have closer associations than others; however, no figurines are assigned as part of a set "type". Rather, the shared features of figurines with visual, technological, or contextual similarities are interrogated, in order to determine which assemblages were the most popular, and thus bore widely-accepted meanings. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 each address a different (but interconnected) aspect of the figurine corpus. Chapter 4 contains a discussion of male social roles and gender ambiguities. Chapter 5 contains a discussion of human-figurine interactions conditioned by the materialities of the objects, with particular reference to figurine features that either beckon the human interlocutor into closer interaction or, conversely, discourage tactile and visual engagement. Chapter 6 contains a discussion of the closely entwined visualizations of many female figurines, and the social implications of that cohesive visual ideal. Within each chapter, the interpretation of figurine trends are approached through such theoretically-informed lenses as the social construction of gender, the psychological effect of miniature scale, and the controlling power of the Gaze. This object-agency approach to studying social interactions between humans and figurines in Hellenistic Babylonia leads to the second major contribution of this dissertation: ethnic identities of "Greek" and "Babylonian" may not have been primary, or even particularly important, in all social interactions. The terracotta figurines both generated and reflected new pathways of social meaning-making in Hellenistic Babylonia. In many cases, these figurines were not particularly adherent to earlier, pre-Hellenistic motifs and meanings. Rather, "trendy" figurines tended to have been those that engaged with aspects of both cultural traditions, frequently becoming hybridized in the process. This finding indicates that the scholarly world's focus on determining the political roles, power balances, and social identities of "Greeks" and "Babylonians" in these Hellenistic communities may be misdirected. In the conclusion of this dissertation, I argue that we need to dramatically rethink our understanding of Hellenistic Babylonian cross-cultural interactions by placing less emphasis on the role of ethnicity, and more importance on investigating the social significance of other identity roles. The scholarly contribution of my dissertation is to both begin a broader exploration of identity in Hellenistic Babylonian society, and also to demonstrate how material culture - such as, but not limited to, terracotta figurines - can be used in innovative and theoretically-informed ways to further explore the "hows" and "whys" of identity formation.

Critical Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern Art

Postcolonial approaches have also been applied to the terracotta figurines of Hellenistic Babylonia, by both myself ... The introduction of postcolonial discourse into the study of Hellenistic Babylonian figurines has added theoretical ...

Author: Brian A. Brown

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter

ISBN: 9781614510352

Category: Art

Page: 842

View: 190


This volume assembles more than 30 articles focusing on the visual, material, and environmental arts of the Ancient Near East. Specific case studies range temporally from the fourth millennium up to the Hellenistic period and geographically from Iran to the eastern Mediterranean. Contributions apply innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to archaeological evidence and critically examine the historiography of the discipline itself. Not intended to be comprehensive, the volume instead captures a cross-section of the field of Ancient Near Eastern art history as its stands in the second decade of the twenty-first century. The volume will be of value to scholars working in the Ancient Near East as well as others interested in newer art historical and anthropological approaches to visual culture.

Archaeology and Cultural Mixture

Specifically, I no longer think it is enough to merely observe that many Hellenistic Babylonian figurines are hybridized. 'Hybrid' has been a useful label to apply to mixed, multicultural objects as it gives such objects and the people ...

Author: Philipp W. Stockhammer

Publisher: Archaeological Review from Cambridge


Category: Social Science

Page: 367

View: 751


The Tiny and the Fragmented

The Seleucid and Parthian Terracotta Figurines from Babylon. Florence: Case Editrice Le Lettere. Kirk, G. E. 1935. “Gymnasium or Khan? A Hellenistic Building at Babylon.” Iraq 2: 223–31. Klengel-Brandt, Evelyn. 1979–81.

Author: S. Rebecca Martin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780190614829

Category: Art

Page: 304

View: 147


Miniature and fragmentary objects are both eye-catching and yet easily dismissed. Tiny scale entices users with visions of Lilliputian worlds. The ambiguity of fragments intrigues us, offering tactile reminders of reality's transience. Yet, the standard scholarly approach to such objects has been to see them as secondary, incomplete things, whose principal purpose was to refer to a complete and often life-size whole. The Tiny and the Fragmented offers a series of fresh perspectives on the familiar concepts of the tiny and the fragmented. Written by a prestigious group of internationally-acclaimed scholars, the volume presents a remarkable diversity of case studies that range from Neolithic Europe to pre-Colombian Honduras to the classical Mediterranean and ancient Near East. Each scholar takes a different approach to issues of miniaturization and fragmentation but is united in considering the little and broken things of the past as objects in their own right. Whether a life-size or whole thing is made in a scaled-down form, deliberately broken as part of its use, or only considered successful in the eyes of ancient users if it shows some signs of wear, it challenges our expectations of representation and wholeness, of what it means for a work of art to be "finished" and "affective." Overall, The Tiny and the Fragmented demands a reconsideration of the social and contextual nature of miniaturization, fragmentation, and incompleteness, making the case that it was because of, rather than in spite of, their small or partial state that these objects were valued parts of the personal and social worlds they inhabited.


The Musée du Louvre's Collection of Greek Figurines ( Valencia : Fundación Bancaja ) JOYCE , R. ( 2009 ) “ Making a ... in Hellenistic Babylonia , ” World Archaeology 47 : 60-79 LANGIN - HOOPER , S. ( 2020 ) Figurines in Hellenistic ...

Author: Jaś Elsner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192605283

Category: Social Science

Page: 192

View: 786


Figurines are objects of handling. As touchable objects, they engage the viewer in different ways from flat art, whether relief sculpture or painting. Unlike the voyeuristic relationship of viewing a neatly framed pictorial narrative as if from the outside, the viewer as handler is always potentially and without protection within the narrative of figurines. As such, they have potential for a potent, even animated, agency in relation to those who use them. This volume concerns figurines as archaeologically-attested materials from literate cultures with surviving documents that have no direct links of contiguity, appropriation, or influence in relation to each other. It is an attempt to put the category of the figurine on the table as a key conceptual and material problematic in the art history of antiquity. It does so through comparative juxtaposition of close-focused chapters drawn from deep art-historical engagement with specific ancient cultures - Chinese, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican, and Greco-Roman. It encourages comparative conversation across the disciplines that constitute the art history of the ancient world through finding categories and models of discourse that may offer fertile ground for comparison and antithesis. It extends the rich and astute literature on prehistoric figurines into understanding the figurine in historical contexts, where literary texts and documents, inscriptions, or surviving terminologies can be adduced alongside material culture. At stake are issues of figuration and anthropomorphism, miniaturization and portability, one-off production and replication, and substitution and scale at the interface of archaeology and art history.

The Art of Contact

“Social Networks and Cross-Cultural Interaction: A New Interpretation of the Female Terracotta Figurines of Hellenistic Babylon.” Oxford Journal of Archaeology 26: 145–65. Langin-Hooper, S. 2013a. “Problematizing Typology and Discarding ...

Author: S. Rebecca Martin

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 9780812249088

Category: Art

Page: 320

View: 635


The proem to Herodotus's history of the Greek-Persian wars relates the long-standing conflict between Europe and Asia from the points of view of the Greeks' chief antagonists, the Persians and Phoenicians. However humorous or fantastical these accounts may be, their stories, as voiced by a Greek, reveal a great deal about the perceived differences between Greeks and others. The conflict is framed in political, not absolute, terms correlative to historical events, not in terms of innate qualities of the participants. It is this perspective that informs the argument of The Art of Contact: Comparative Approaches to Greek and Phoenician Art. Becky Martin reconsiders works of art produced by, or thought to be produced by, Greeks and Phoenicians during the first millennium B.C., when they were in prolonged contact with one another. Although primordial narratives that emphasize an essential quality of Greek and Phoenician identities have been critiqued for decades, Martin contends that the study of ancient history has not yet effectively challenged the idea of the inevitability of the political and cultural triumph of Greece. She aims to show how the methods used to study ancient history shape perceptions of it and argues that art is especially positioned to revise conventional accountings of the history of Greek-Phoenician interaction. Examining Athenian and Tyrian coins, kouros statues and mosaics, as well as the familiar Alexander Sarcophagus and the sculpture known as the "Slipper Slapper," Martin questions what constituted "Greek" and "Phoenician" art and, by extension, Greek and Phoenician identity. Explicating the relationship between theory, method, and interpretation, The Art of Contact destabilizes categories such as orientalism and Hellenism and offers fresh perspectives on Greek and Phoenician art history.

New Perspectives in Seleucid History Archaeology and Numismatics

Langin-Hooper, S. M. “Social Networks and Cross-Cultural Interaction: A New Interpretation of the Female Terracotta Figurines of Hellenistic Babylon.” In Oxford Journal of Archaeology 26 (2007), 145-165. Langin-Hooper, S. M. “Beyond ...

Author: Roland Oetjen

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG

ISBN: 9783110388558

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 831

View: 209


Dedicated to Getzel M. Cohen, a leading expert in Seleucid history, this volume gathers 45 contributions on Seleucid history, archaeology, numismatics, political relations, policy toward the Jews, Greek cities, non-Greek populations, peripheral and neighboring regions, imperial administration, economy and public finances, and ancient descriptions of the Seleucid Empire. The reader will gain an international perspective on current research.

Fitful Histories and Unruly Publics Rethinking Temporality and Community in Eurasian Archaeology

Social Networks and Cross-Cultural Interaction: A New Interpretation of the Female Terracotta Figurines from Hellenistic Babylonia. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 26 (2): 145–165. Langin-Hooper, Stephanie M. (2013).


Publisher: BRILL

ISBN: 9789004325470

Category: History

Page: 360

View: 323


Fitful Histories and Unruly Publics re-examines the relationship between Eurasia’s past and present, demonstrating that social life in ancient Eurasia was considerably more unruly than research has traditionally allowed.

Ritual Performance and Politics in the Ancient Near East

Berossus and Babylonian Eschatology. Iraq 38: 171–173. 1976b. ... Beyond Typology: Investigating Entanglements of Difference and Exploring Object-Generated Social Interactions in the Terracotta Figurines of Hellenistic Babylonia.

Author: Lauren Ristvet

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781107065215

Category: History

Page: 331

View: 884


In this book, Lauren Ristvet rethinks the narratives of state formation by investigating the interconnections between ritual, performance, and politics in the ancient Near East. She draws on a wide range of archaeological, iconographic, and cuneiform sources to show how ritual performance was not set apart from the real practice of politics; it was politics. Rituals provided an opportunity for elites and ordinary people to negotiate political authority. Descriptions of rituals from three periods explore the networks of signification that informed different societies. From circa 2600 to 2200 BC, pilgrimage made kingdoms out of previously isolated villages. Similarly, from circa 1900 to 1700 BC, commemorative ceremonies legitimated new political dynasties by connecting them to a shared past. Finally, in the Hellenistic period, the traditional Babylonian Akitu festival was an occasion for Greek-speaking kings to show that they were Babylonian and for Babylonian priests to gain significant power.