The Joy of Clay Figurines


The first clay figurines relate to early myths that focus on Man’s creation out of earth; the source derives from the book of Genesis: “…then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," (Genesis, 2: 7).
The exhibition is devoted to figurines that originally served as offerings, figures of healing, and at times, toys. In later periods the figurines also served as children’s toys, but today they are a source of inspiration for contemporary potters, among them Israelis.
The transition from figurines that were used in rituals to toys was made possible as a result of the minimization of personal offerings in order to facilitate their designated tradition. The inferior figurines that could not be used in rituals were passed on to children to use as toys. However, this was not the only

reason: a deep connection exists between the clay figurines that, for example, replaced human sacrifices, and make-believe children’s games.
In this exhibit you will find figurines from all corners of the earth – fertility dolls, horsemen and horses, wild and domestic animals - often imaginary, marbles, soldiers, figurines of saints, rattles and noisemakers, whistles in diverse forms and shapes, and ocarinas. Their majority date from the 20th century, however they are extremely similar to archeological figures that date from three thousand or five thousand years ago.
Their beautiful shape, which is often exceptionally archaic, largely stems from the skills and mastery of the artists working in clay, and from the fact that they have been practicing since their childhood in shaping these figures. From the technical point of view, as well as the symbolic one, their simplicity is magical.
However, after touring the exhibition, children will be able to draw inspiration and learn about the pleasure of shaping figures out of clay, playing with them, and dreaming and thinking with their hands.
 
Curator: Christine Armengaud

Opens:June 16

Closes: January 29, 2011