Primary Source

Ceramic Female Figure from Ecuador

A clay figure with two heads and two female torsos, along with one set of arms and legs. The heads have cap-like hair and slightly detailed faces.


This clay figure dates from the third millennium BCE and is evidence of the earliest known ceramic traditions of any ancient peoples in the Americas. This figure, and many others like it, are from the Valdivia culture of Ecuador. The Valdivia produced many stylized representations of human figures that often lack a clear face and were usually female. This figure does have a clear face, or rather two of them, and has one set of arms and legs and two female torsos attached to the two heads. Their stance is reminiscent of other Valdivian figures, with their arms clasped and their legs splayed. This figure is often interpreted as a fertility statue or as a representation of guardian spirits, though this is not conclusive. 


Double Headed Figure, 3rd Millennium BCE, Metropolitan Museum of Art,

How to Cite This Source

"Ceramic Female Figure from Ecuador ," in World History Commons, [accessed April 17, 2024]