Tag Archives: Ushabti

figurative clayart sculptures


From the first time Neanderthal man held aloft a lump of clay contemplating what he could use it for, he more then likely posed the question …  functional or decorative?  ” Will I make a bowl for eating my nuts and berries or should I indulge my creativity and make a clay statue of my beautiful wife. How about a sun-dial so I don’t sleep in.  Maybe I could do some raku, but first I have to figure out how to make fire….”
On a more serious note, clay figures have been around for a very long time and I speculate that their earliest use would have been for some kind of idolatry.

The figure sculptures of  Greek Antiquity were not naturalistic, for their forms were idealized and geometric. Figurative art is itself  based upon a tacit understanding of abstracted shapes.This has been referred to as the ” Egyptian method ” where there was an  adherence to that which was already known, rather then what was being witnessed. This  idealization eventually gave way to observation, and a figurative art which balanced idealized geometry with greater realism was seen in Classical  sculpture by 480 B.C. This reliance on visual observation was known by the Greeks as ” mimesis “. This style of figurative art , characterised by attempts to reconcile these opposing principles, remained until the time of the Impressionists.

A figurine is a statuette that can represent a human form, a deity or an animal, and can be either  realistic or iconic.  The earliest were made of stone or clay, and later versions were made with ceramics, metal , glass and wood.

Terracotta Isis

This terra-cotta figure is in honor of the goddesses Isis and Aphrodite.

(  Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. )

The most common materials for figurines were porcelain and various ceramics.. There are many early examples from China where it originated, which drove  experimentation in Europe to replicate the process. The first European porcelain figurines were produced in a process mastered in Germany were known as Meissen ware,  after the city where it began.

The ushabti was a funerary figurine used in Ancient Egypt. Ushabtis were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as substitutes for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife. They were used from the Middle Kingdom (around 1900 BC) until the end of the Ptolemaic Period nearly 2000 years later.
Most ushabtis were of minor size, and many produced in multiples – they sometimes covered the floor around a sarcophagus. Exceptional ushabtis are of larger size, or produced as a one of-a-kind master work.
The ushabtis were servant figures that carried out the tasks required of the deceased in the underworld.

Here is a collection of figurines ranging from ancient to modern :

Kate Gardiner – odyssey-center

Isis and Horus Statue

Isis and Horus

Lidija Tkalcevic – ACGA  ↓

Lidija Tkalcevic figurine

Cheryl Tall Osirus Clay Statue

Osirus  2010 – Cheryl Tall

Eel Walker – Mark Newman

This sculpture was eventually cast in bronze.

Artful Ceramics

)Charlene Doiron Reinhart

Charlene Doiron Reinhart

liz bryant ceramic figurative sculpture

Liz Bryant

the buddhabuilder

the buddhabuilder

figurative sculpture

Windy by Piotr Konsk

NEW YEARS DIVA 2 by Nicole West

NEW YEARS DIVA 2 by Nicole West


Patricia Boyd  ↓

Tribal Stand

boyd kindred spirits sculpture

Kindred Spirits 11

Blessed Harvest – Patricia Boyd

Contemporary Sculpture

” Can you see me ”  Adele Macy

Virginia Rigney

Marina Bauguil  

ceramic figure HeartBird

Heart Bird – Marina Bauguil

marina bauguil ceramic figure


Tree Spirit

Obsedian ceramic-figure

Obsedian ceramic-figure

Fred Yokel

Female Effigy Vessel

Democratic Republic of Congo. Mangbetu. Early 20th century

At the time, elongated foreheads were considered highly attractive. To achieve this look, royal women wrapped their heads with rope and wove their hair into a conical basket structure.

Sherri_K_McEuen ceramic figure

“Dynasty Ceramic Sculpture”

Sherri K McEuen

Engel Raku Keramik figure

Ceramic Angel Raku Keramik figure

Margit Hohenberger

Mouseweb – Michelle Hall

Art Deco Figurine

Art Deco Figurine

Whisper – Marina Bauguil

Sally Hook figurative sculpture

Sally Hook –  Jongleur noir et blanc

Artist  Sally Hook –   Jongleur  Jeune et Rouge