The Archetypal Woman in Mythological & Religious Art
Hossein Zakergou and Shahin Khani
Reprinted from: Honar Nameh, University of Art, Tehran, No. 7, 2000 (A brief of the article)
Fertility goddess figurines are among the most primitive artistic works and they have been found all areas of settlement by ancient human.
The existence of such figurines tells us of the prevalence of widespread beliefs on the power of fertility. The earliest fertility figurines are devoid of individual characteristics, appearing as nudes with accentuated female organs and, at times, nursing infants. They symbolized the power of fertility. Later figurines reveal greater details of beliefs about women, standards of beauty, dress, hairdo and jewelry.
In later times, especially in the "Indo-Aryan" cultures and religions, fertility figurines appear in the form of powerful goddesses, like Anahita, and primordial lovers such as Sitha and Radha. They represent a more elevated status.
With the appearance of organized religions, the concept of "primordial woman" is embodied in saints. In Semitic Unitarian religions, it takes the form of such personalities as Assiah, the Pharaoh's wife, in Jewish theology, Mary in Christianity, Fatima in Islam, and many others. They represent the divine status of women in various religions.