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Stone sculpture of Tlazolteotl

Fertility is a recurring theme in Huastec art, in which it is represented by stone sculptures of female goddesses, elderly men and phalluses. The female figures are associated with Tlazolteotl, an earth goddess. Representations of Tlazolteotl are also found in codices (painted books), pottery figurines and engraved on shell pendants.
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Epifania


This cartoon (a full-size preparatory drawing) is drawn on 26 sheets of paper and is over 2 metres high. Many alterations are visible, showing how Michelangelo changed his mind about the forms and the composition.
Wooden guardian figure

This rare wooden image is nearly 2500 years old. Figures like this were placed as guardians in tombs in the ancient Chinese state of Chu in what is today Hunan and Hubei province. When this figure was made, the Chu ruled a large part of China.
Door lintel (pare) from a house

Religious images have been made in many different materials, but those in perishable materials such as wood may not survive across the centuries. This wooden carving is the lintel (pare in Maori) from above the door of a small house. The image is thought to represent Papatuanuka, the Earth Mother, giving birth to the principal gods. Another interpretation is that it depicts Hinenuitepo, the goddess of death, defeating the demigod Maui as he attempts to gain immortality for mankind.
Bronze figure of the Buddha Shakyamuni

Тhis beautiful bronze statue of the Buddha was created in a Buddhist monastery workshop, probably in the Indian state of Bihar. It was made shortly after the end of the Gupta dynasty (AD 320-550) and displays many of the features typical of the Gupta period: the figure is soft, gentle and simple, with heavy-lidded, downcast eyes and 'snail shell' curls. The downward cast of the eyes also indicates that it was designed to be installed in an elevated position, on an altar, and, on occasions, to be carried in processions.
Carved hardwood figure known as A'a

Тhis figure p ro в а в ly represents the god A'a and was made on the Island of Rurutu in the Pacific Ocean. It was one of a number of figures presented to a mission station by the Rurutuans in 1821 as a symbol of their acceptance of Christianity.
Clay mask of the demon Huwawa


Тhis clay mask is in the shape of coiled intestines, represented by one continuous line. In Mesopotamia the examination of the shape and colour of the interna organs of a sacrificed animal was a method for predicting the future. Experts compiled records of these signs or omens together with the events they were believed to predict.
Wooden male figure

Тhis rare wooden image is evidence for the religious beliefs and rituals of the people who lived in the Caribbean before the arrival of European conquerors. It was made by Taino, whose communities were ruled by elite classes of chiefs, called caciques, and spiritual leaders.
Upper part of a colossal limestone statue of a bearded man

Тhis large greek sculpture from Cyprus probably represents a priest of the god Apollo. It would originally have been placed in the centre of a series of statues in the front of the main court of the sanctuary of Apollo.
Nataraja, Lord of the Dance

Тhis bronze figure, cast in a single piece, is both a creative and a technical masterpiece. It depicts the Hindu god Shiva as Nataraja, the lord of the dance. Nataraja figures, which are placed in temple shrines and paraded during festivals, were particularly popular during the Chola dynasty in Tamil Nadu in the tenth to twelfth centuries.