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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Prehistoric figurines are complex entities. Figurine definition and ‘meaning’ is variable, but critical is the realization that figurines require interpretation, not just description. Multiple meanings were probably ascribed to prehistoric figurines, and exploring this demands attention to figurine context. Figurine materiality is also diverse. They attest to human technical ingenuity and were also part of much larger material worlds. A shift beyond defining figurines in simplistic male and female terms is also apparent with figurines potentially representing gender, sex, age, bodies, personhood, and ontology. Ideal persons or essences or qualities of persons might be created through figurines with miniaturization perhaps significant as an agent for exploring material reality. Figurines could also have been considered as powerful, whole or in fragments, and as objects subject to manipulation and utilized in performance.

Keywords: figurines, definition, meaning, medicine, performance, gender, materiality, future research

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