Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Two-Headed Statues of 'Ain Ghazal

'Ain Ghazal is a Neolithic site located in North-Western Jordan, on the outskirts of Amman. It dates as far back as 7250 BCE, and was inhabited until 5000 BCE. At 15 hectares (37 ac), 'Ain Ghazal ranks as one of the largest known prehistoric settlements in the Near East. Irit Ziffer has argued that these are representations of the First Adam (Irit Ziffer, The First Adam, Androgyny, and the 'Ain Ghazal Two- headed Busts in Context). This survey focuses on the two-headed statues from 'Ain Ghazal – which are the earliest of their kind presently known – in an attempt to their significance. The author suggests that even before the advent of pottery, it was commonly believed that man was a figure modelled out of an earth substance. Therefore, the 'Ain Ghazal statues should be seen as the material expression of the concept of human creation by a divine craftsman, which was later transformed into the notion of Man's creation from earth by a divine potter, a notion shared by the people of the ancient Near East. The two-headed busts are perhaps a kind of visual metaphor, a 'euphemism' or a more 'spiritual' expression for the ancient androgyne, whose dual sexuality is depicted not by two sets of genitalia, but by a common body with two heads.

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