Satyr’s Daughters by Judy Fox

Satyr’s Daughters is a group of five painted ceramic sculptures by Judy Fox. The artist was born in New Jersey in 1957, and currently lives in New York. She is most famous for her life-size realistic terra-cotta nudes of women and children. Satyr’s Daughters was created in 1999 and originally displayed in the PPOW Gallery in New York City. The display included four statues of girls, each about seven years old (the daughters), and one adult man (the satyr). The four girls were displayed on high pedestals on one side of the room; they were meant to be viewed from below. The Satyr was on the other side of the room on a low platform, and was looking at the daughters. Although they were displayed in one group, each of the five statues was sold individually. Since Pigtails is about girls, this post will concentrate on the daughters.

Judy Fox – Satyr’s Daughters (1999)

The four daughters represent four different geographical areas: India, Africa, China, and Europe. Fox said that she chose models at an age when they were becoming conscious of their beauty, but were still innocent of its sexual implications. Fox considers herself to be a feminist, and strives for her art to reflect that.

Lakshmi represents India. Lakshmi is the name of a Hindu goddess, but the Lakshmi of Satyr’s Daughters has an appearance different from traditional portrayals of the divinity. Hindus worship Lakshmi as the goddess of wealth, love, beauty, joy and prosperity. Lakshmi is conventionally depicted as an adult woman with four arms, as in the painting by Raja Ravi Varma. However, Lakshmi was incarnate on Earth as Sita and as Rukmini, so it may not be entirely contrary to Hindu doctrine to portray her as a young girl. At least, I have not read of any Hindus objecting to the Lakshmi statue in Satyr’s Daughters.

Judy Fox – Lakshmi (1999)

Ravi Varma -Goddess Lakshmi (1848 – 1906)

Africa is represented by Onile. Onile is the Earth and metalworking goddess of the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Benin. She is often portrayed in abstract bronze statuettes in a pose similar to the Onile of Judy Fox. Although Onile is divine, I have not read of any Yoruba complaining of the Onile in Satyr’s Daughters as sacrilege.

Judy Fox – Onile (1999)

Judy Fox – Onile (1999)

Unknown Nigerian Artist – Onile Yoruba Figurine (20th century)

Court Lady is the daughter for China. This statue is reminiscent of Tang Dynasty figurines of Chinese ladies. Court Lady replicates the posture and hair of the figurines, but with a nude child instead of a clothed adult. Photographs of live models were used to make the Satyr’s Daughters statues. Judy Fox lives and works in New York City, and it seems likely that her models were all from that area. Fox included details in the hair, posture, and titles of the sculptures to indicate that the girls represent different parts of the world and different cultures; not merely New York girls who happen to be of different ethnic backgrounds.

Judy Fox – Court Lady (1999)

Judy Fox – Court Lady (1999)

Anonymous – Tang Dynasty Figurine (618 – 906)

Rapunzel is Europe’s daughter. It is a good choice, I think, to use a fairy tale character from Grimm to represent Europe. The Grimm brothers collected their folk tales in 19th century Germany, but the tales are common in all European countries and are centuries old. Rapunzel is probably the best of Grimm’s Tales for the Satyr’s Daughters series because of her long hair. Since the figures are nude, the hair is one of the details necessary to give each daughter her individuality.

Judy Fox – Rapunzel (1999)

Judy Fox – Rapunzel (1999)

Controversy could potentially arise from the fact that real girls modeled for Satyr’s Daughters, and realistic nude statues of the girls were put on public display. If anything was done to make the models unrecognizable from the statues, it was not mentioned in any review that I read. Yet despite the fact that the girls were originally displayed with a satyr, and satyrs are by definition lascivious, I have not read of any objections in this regard to Satyr’s Daughters.

Random Images: Alkemanubis

Christian recently found this image requesting that it be identified. He suggested that it may have come from DeviantArt but Pip doesn’t think so because it violates their TOS. He believes it is associated with Manga. If it originally appeared there, that may be why it cannot be found there any longer. Any assistance would be much appreciated. It appears to be a kind of bacchanalia comprised of little girls. [see additional  comments below]

Alke / Alkemanubis - Ritual

Alkemanubis – Ritual (variant) (2018)

[20210505] Once again, our readers come to the rescue. As can be seen below, a few out there knew the source of this image. Many thanks to all of you. One contributor even told me he knew the artist personally, so it is possible that we may be expanding this post at some point.

It turns out that Pip and Christian were both right. Alke/Alkemanubis has a DeviantArt account and a Pixiv account (the latter from which this image was removed). There are apparently four versions of this image.

Girls of Oceania Part 2: Melanesia and Micronesia

Melanesia is by far the part of Oceania with the most land area. The island of New Guinea has more than twice as much land as Polynesia and Micronesia combined. It is also the earliest inhabited part of Oceania. If you look at a map, it will not be obvious why Melanesia is considered to be part of Oceania. On the map, a swarm of large islands, close together, extends from the Malay Peninsula to the Fiji Islands.

The islands from New Guinea to Fiji are considered to be Melanesia, and the islands west of New Guinea are said to be part of Asia. The reason for dividing Melanesia from Asia at New Guinea is that the people who inhabit the islands west of New Guinea are of the same race as the Malay people on the Asian mainland. From New Guinea east to Fiji the people are of a Black race with an appearance similar to the people of Africa. Melanesia is big enough and old enough to have a rich diversity of cultures, and most of the images of Melanesia in this post are from ethnographic works.

An ethnographic contrivance by Francis Barton, along with some information about the photographer, was posted in Pigtails in Paint here.  Another of Captain Barton’s photographs is shown below. It was published in the book Melanesians of British New Guinea by Charles Seligman. The purpose of the photograph is to show the tattoo patterns of the girl’s tribe.

Francis Rickman Barton – Tattooed Girl (1904-1910)

J. G. Pasteur was another photographer who documented the life on New Guinea in about the time of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Pasteur sent the negatives of his work to Europe, and his friend C. H. Stratz published the photos in his books after Pasteur’s death. The Stratz books are not art books, but the photos definitely have an artistic composition. Stratz wrote in Naturgeschichte des Menschen that J. G. Pasteur created the most beautiful and artistically perfect Papua pictures (Papua is another name for New Guinea). Although Naturgeschichte des Menschen is a scientific book, Stratz was clearly interested in the artistic value of the photographs.

J.G. Pasteur – Papuamädchen von Acht bis Zehn Jahren (circa 1900)

J.G. Pasteur – Papuamädchen von Etwa Zehn Jahren (circa1900)

J.G. Pasteur – Mädchen von Vierzehn Jahren aus Taubadji (circa1900)

The next two Melanesian photos are anonymous images from the Solomon Islands and New Britain Island. The picture of the Solomon Islands girl with the wide smile and flowers in her hair is particularly evocative of a happy childhood. The New Britain girl appears more somber. She was probably posed that way by an ethnologist to demonstrate the musical instrument of her tribe.

Anonymous – Solomon Island Girl (circa1920)

Museum für Völkerkunde, Dresden – A Girl from Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, Playing on Pongolo (before 1930)

The next photograph is from the collection of the American physician Sylvester M. Lambert. Lambert spent twenty years in the Pacific islands as a doctor for the Rockefeller Foundation’s International Health Board. During that time he took many photographs that document the life of the island people. His photos have the appearance of an amateur snapshot. This is a photo of Melanesian women and girls. One source says the photo was taken on Santa Ana Island, while another says that it is from Santa Catalina Island. Santa Ana (Owaraha) and Santa Catalina (Owariki) are both in the Solomon Islands, and are separated by less than two miles of water.

S. M. Lambert – Women and Girls on Santa Ana (1919–1939)

Note that all of the Melanesian photos shown so far were taken before 1940, and that the girls in the photos have no clothing. The idea that nudity is obscene, although common in Western culture, is not universally held. There are two interesting maps in Die Frauenkleidung und ihre natürliche Entwicklung by C. H. Stratz that show where women routinely went nude in the years 1500 and 1900. This area seems to be most of the tropics in 1500, and a much smaller but still significant area, including part of Melanesia, in 1900. (I think he underestimated the area in South America in 1900.) There is still at least one area in Melanesia where nudity is common today. On the Melanesian island of Malaita, it is customary in some communities for only men, boys, and married women to wear clothes, while girls and young unmarried women go naked. Most of Melanesia has adopted western or at least semi-western modes of dress today. This is shown on the last two images from Melanesia. Both are from the Melanesian Women Today web page.

Melanesian Women Today – Solomon Scholarships (circa2020)

Melanesian Women Today – Takuu (circa2020)

In Micronesia, many people wore clothing, even if only grass skirts, before they adopted western style dress. The next two photographs are of girls on the Micronesian island of Nauru. Nauru is now an independent state, and with a land area of about eight square miles is one of the smallest sovereign states.

Anonymous – Nauru Girls (circa 1920)

Australian War Memorial – Private Corfield with a Young Nauruan Girl (1945)

Micronesian people are related to Polynesians. They are descended from the same group of migrants that left Taiwan in ancient times and went to Indonesia. Some of those people went north to Micronesia while the rest went east to Polynesia. The Micronesian population was later augmented with more migrants from Polynesia and from The Philippines.

Yap is a very traditional Micronesian island, where the old-fashioned grass skirts are still worn for special occasions. The next image is a vintage postcard from Yap showing a girl, a man, and one of the stone wheels that are highly valued by the people on Yap. Following that is a photo taken by an Australian woman and posted on her Lozinyap blog. The two girls were celebrating Yap Day in 2015.

Anonymous – Girl and Man on Yap (circa1940)

Lozinyap – Yapday Girls (2015)

Guam is the biggest and most cosmopolitan island in Micronesia. Gerard Aflague is a Chamorro, an indigenous person of Guam, and an illustrator of children’s books. He has illustrated, and written several books with Christian religious, educational, and Pacific Island themes. His wife is also a writer. He seems to be very proud of his Chamorro heritage, and the first image is the cover of a book written in both Chamorro and English. He has also written and illustrated bilingual books in English and other Pacific island languages.

Gerard Aflague – Cover of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes (2017)

Gerard Aflague – Cover of Little Chamorrita Did I Tell You (2014)

Robert Hunter is a painter living in the Northern Mariana Islands. He has a great deal of experience as a commercial and fine artist, having worked as an artist for the United States Postal Service, the Red Cross and others. Much of his art revolves around Micronesian life and legends. The first painting by Robert Hunter, Things Lost, Things Found , depicts a young girl and a nautilus shell on the beach. The second painting, Piggyback, shows a girl carrying another child.

Robert Hunter – Things Lost, Things Found (2010)

Robert Hunter – Piggyback (2011)

Most of Micronesia consists of U.S. territories or independent states in free association with the United States. The free association status, among other things, makes it easy for the Micronesians to enter the United States. Many people from Chuuk (formerly Truk) have settled in Milan, Minnesota. The mural of a young Chuukese girl shown below is on the wall of Bergen’s Prairie Market in Milan.

Anonymous – Mural of a Micronesian Girl on Bergen’s Prairie Market (circa2020)

The last example of a young island girl in this post is one that people in the USA, and in associated states that use US money, have probably already seen. This is the Northern Marianas Islands quarter dollar for the “America the Beautiful” quarter series. The design depicts a girl at the memorial commemorating the 1944 Battle of Saipan. Donna Weaver designed the quarter, and Phebe Hemphill sculpted it. Phebe Hemphill said on a Youtube video that the person on the quarter is a “young girl”. On the US Mint website, however, the person on the quarter is described as a “young woman”. I agree with the sculptor that she is a girl, and therefore have included the quarter in this post.

Weaver and Hemphill – America the Beautiful Quarter for Northern Mariana Islands (2019)

Girls of Oceania: Part 1 – Polynesia

Some islands are conventionally associated with a continent. For example, Japan and Indonesia are islands in the Pacific, but they are considered to be part of Asia. There are many islands scattered throughout the Pacific that are not associated with any continent; they are known collectively as Oceania. Oceania consists of three sections: Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. This post will be about Polynesia; Melanesia and Micronesia will be covered in Girls of Oceania Part 2.

Polynesian people originated in Taiwan. Over the course of many generations, they migrated south to Philippines and Indonesia, then east until they reached the island groups of Samoa and Tonga about 1000 BC. They remained in Samoa and Tonga for over a thousand years. Then, in a relatively short time, they spread throughout the eastern Pacific. Polynesia expanded to Hawaii in the north, New Zealand in the southwest, and Easter Island in the southeast. This is a huge area of ocean, millions of square miles, but it contains only about 118,000 square miles of land, of which 103,000 square miles are in New Zealand.

These remote islands developed a mystique during the era before air travel, when visiting an isolated island was like going to another planet, with little to no contact with the outside world. There is a romance in being so detached from the rest of the world. In the days of sailing ships when the male crews may have spent weeks without seeing a woman before stopping at a Polynesian island, the women of the islands were of particular interest. Polynesia became famous for women hula dancers, but young girls were also hula dancers.

The first example of a children’s hula, called “keiki hula” in Hawaiian, is this photo of Shirley Temple in her hula costume from the movie Curly Top. This was not an island movie, but hula dancing had become popular everywhere. Polynesian costume looks cute and feminine and therefore is appealing to girls who are not Polynesian. An image of non-Polynesian girls in grass skirts by Shannon Richardson was posted on Pigtails in Paint here.

Fox Studios – Publicity Photo for Curly Top (1935)

Hulas, including keiki hula, are more popular in Polynesia than elsewhere. The next two images show keiki hula shows in Hawaii, the first at the Kona Inn in the 1940s; the second at a shopping mall in the present century.

Anonymous – Keiki Hula at Kona Inn (1940s)

Na Kamalii Nani o Lahaina Hula School – Hula Show at the Mall (circa2016)

Hula girls have inspired several painters, including John Yato. Yato was born in Japan and his family moved to California when he was nine years old. He specializes in bright watercolors of various parts of the world, including the Pacific islands. The following two paintings by John Yato were inspired by Polynesian girls.

John Yato – Little Hulas (circa2010)

John Yato – Paradise Smile (circa2020)

Hawaiian girls are featured in cartoons as well as fine art. Lilo and Stitch, one of the best known Hawaiian-themed cartoons, was released by Disney in 2002. This story of a 6-year old Hawaiian girl who adopts a creature from outer space was a very successful movie. Sequels and a television series of Lilo and Stitch have been made.

Walt Disney Pictures – Lilo and Stitch (c2002)

Barbara Bradley was one of the 20th century’s outstanding illustrators. She made many illustrations of young girls, and I am surprised that she has not already been featured in Pigtails in Paint. Her typical style of drawing was more realistic, but she did a series of Hawaiian kids illustrations for the Dole pineapple company in a cartoon style in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Barbara’s children were models for the Hawaiian kids.

Barbara Bradley – Dole Hawaiian Kids (circa1970)

Barbara Bradley – Dole Hawaiian Kids Girl (circa1970)

In the limited amount of research done for this post I did not find any serious sculptures of young Polynesian girls, but there is a lot of kitsch; bobble head dolls, dashboard ornaments, and souvenir figurines. An example shown below is a solar powered bobble head of a girl playing the ukulele.

KC Hawaii – Keiki Ukulele Bobble Head Solar Doll (circa2020)

Up to this point, all of the images have been of Hawaiians, or at least of generic Polynesians that could be Hawaiian. New Zealand is by far the largest and most populous island group in Polynesia, but for some reason doesn’t have as much young girl art as Hawaii or French Polynesia. Perhaps New Zealand is too big for the feeling of being on a remote isolated little piece of land. The photograph below is from the studio of one of the great early woman photographers, Elizabeth Pullman. She had an intense interest in the Maori (New Zealand Polynesians) and photographed many of their important leaders. The photo below is an anonymous Maori woman and two girls.

Pullman and Son – Maori Woman and Two Children – (1871-1900)

French Polynesia, which includes the island of Tahiti, was the home of the painter Paul Gauguin for several years. Gauguin created many paintings of Tahitian women, but few paintings of young girls. Two of his paintings of Tahitian girls are shown below. Gauguin was probably influenced by photographer Charles Georges Spitz. Spitz lived in Tahiti, but the photograph posted here is from the Tuamotus Islands.

Paul Gauguin – Piti Teina (Two Sisters) (1892)

Paul Gauguin – Tahitian Woman And Two Children (1901)

Charles Georges Spitz – Tuamotus (circa1888)

Roger Parry was another French art photographer and he was also a war correspondent. Parry visited Tahiti in 1932–1933, and took at least four nude photographs of young Tahitian girls. Two are posted here, followed by a photo from Frederick O’Brien. O’Brien was not an artist; he was a bohemian wanderer and social activist who was in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia in 1913–1914. His picture of the kava drinker with two women and a girl became well known. It was published in O’Brien’s book White Shadows in the South Seas in 1919, and in National Geographic Magazine about eighty years later.

Roger Parry – Jeune Fille Nue (1932)

Roger Parry – Jeune Fille Nue aux Algues (1932)

Frederick O’Brien -Kivi, the Kava Drinker with the Hetairae of the Valley (1913-1914)

Only a few of the many islands of Polynesia can be covered in this post. Samoa will be the last group of islands considered here. Most of Samoa had been a German possession. It was formerly believed that various groups of people had certain distinctive characteristics. We Americans are commercial, therefore we have bobble head dolls from Hawaii. British are reserved, therefore we have formal studio portraits from New Zealand. French are artistic, therefore we have Gauguin’s paintings from Tahiti. Germans are scientific, therefore we have tomes detailing the ethnography, geology, botany, etc. of Samoa.

The two photos from Samoa are both from scholarly works. The first is from Die Frauenkleidung und ihre natürliche Entwicklung by Carl Heinrich Stratz. Stratz wrote that the picture is from a book by Selenka, but he does not say that Selenka was the photographer. This same image is found in several other early 20th century books. It is a good example of an ethnographic contrivance; an artistic picture disguised as ethnography to make it appear more serious and respectable. The second photograph is true ethnography with no contrivance. It uses a 14-year old girl to illustrate the physical characteristics of the Polynesian race. This image was taken from Naturgeschichte des Menschen, also by Stratz. The image is attributed to the Godefroy album. Godefroy was a German trading company that operated in the Pacific. This picture also appears in many other books, and in spite of the stiff pose has an innocent appeal.

Selenka – Mädchen aus Samoa im Blumenschmuck (circa1900)

Godefroy Album – 14 Jähriges Mädchen aus Samoa (c1900)

Lehnert and Landrock’s Young Model

The team of Rudolf Franz Lehnert and Ernst Heinrich Landrock is probably the best known of all Orientalist photographers. Lehnert was born in 1878 in what is now the Czech Republic, and was then part of the Hapsburg Empire. Landrock was also born in 1878, in Germany. In 1904 Lehnert and Landrock became partners in a photographic studio in Tunis. For ten years they produced a large quantity of photographs and postcards in Tunisia. Landrock was the manager, and Lehnert was the photographer.

Orientalism, a romanticized depiction of the Middle East, was a popular style of art in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Painters and writers made the genre popular before the advent of photography and thus Lehnert and Landrock adopted the Orientalist style. Some critics have complained that Orientalism is denigrating to the people of the Middle East, but I would disagree. Those opposed to Orientalism say that any portrayal of a non-western culture must necessarily depict it as primitive and inferior. This attitude seems to me to indicate an intolerant attitude of the critic rather than of the Orientalist artist. Opponents also say it is not realistic.

I am not qualified to judge if Lehnert and Landrock postcards realistically portray early 20th century Tunis, but I know that postcards in general are not meant to depict reality. I live in Florida. I know that Florida’s climate is humid, with frequent rain. On beaches here you will see people of all ages and both sexes, and occasionally a discarded soda can. On postcards of Florida beaches you will only see sunny sky, spotlessly clean sand, and attractive young women. It’s true that this is unrealistic, but it is not disparaging of Florida, and most people have enough sense to know that reality may be different from a postcard.

The nudity shown on Lehnert and Landrock postcards may be realistic. Islamic societies are often thought to have strict dress codes for women, but there are exceptions to this rule. Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) visited Cairo in 1869 and wrote of seeing people of both sexes naked in public. (See Chapter 31 of his book The Innocents Abroad) Michael Wolgensinger photographed a girl he saw naked in public in Iran in 1958. Pigtails in Paint posted the photo here.

It would not be possible in one post to adequately cover the vast amount of images that were photographed by Lehnert and Landrock, so this post will be limited to a few of the photos of just one of their many models. She appears to me to be among the youngest of their models. Her name is not known. Although Lehnert and Landrock photographed both clothed and nude models, I have only found nude photos of this particular girl. The first three photos show the girl alone. Titles in French are from the internet source of the photo (most are from Wikimedia Commons). I composed the titles in English for pictures that had no title.

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune Fille au Mirroir (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Girl with a Musical Instrument (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune-Femme Nue au Tambourin (1904-1914)

In the next two pictures the girl is with Fathma, one of the few Lehnert and Landrock models whose name is known.

Lehnert and Landrock - A-Young Girl and Fathma (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – A-Young Girl and Fathma (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – A Young Girl and Fathma on a Couch (1904-1914)

The following two photos show the girl with a young boy. His race indicates that he is probably a slave. When the photo was taken, Tunisia was a protectorate of France. Although slavery was illegal in France, the protectorate status meant that Tunisia was internally self-governing and slavery was legal in Tunisia. Note that the boy’s genitals are censored, but the girl’s are not. Lehnert and Landrock made other photos with nude females and clothed or censored males. An example has been posted on Pigtails here. I have not discovered why there was this aversion to male nudity. My guess would be that male nudity was offensive to many of the people who bought postcards; Lehnert and Landrock may have felt they could sell more postcards by avoiding male nudity.

Lehnert and Landrock – Young Girl and Boy (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Another Photo of a Young Girl and Boy (1904-1914)

Female nudity was also censored sometimes, usually by only slightly blurring the vulva. I could not find a censored picture of the particular model who is the focus of this post, but here is a censored photo, from a postcard, of another young Lehnert and Landrock model. The following is the same photo from the book Woman, an Historical and Gynaecological and Anthropological Compendium by H.H. Ploss, M. Bartels, and P. Bartels; edited by E. J. Dingwall (1935). This is the only instance in which I have found a censored and uncensored version of the same photo.

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune Berbère Nue (censored) (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune Berbère Nue (1904-1914)

There seems to be no obvious reason why some are censored and some are not. The age of the model, and the situation being photographed appear to have no bearing on whether the photo is censored. If a photo was censored for postcards sold in a more restrictive jurisdiction, I would expect that there would be both censored and uncensored versions of the same postcard. I have not found an example of this (in the photos above the uncensored version is from a book, not a postcard). The next two photos can both be found at multiple places on the internet, and may give an idea of why we don’t find two versions of the same picture. The second photo is merely a cropped version of the first, yet it appears many different places on the internet. Apparently one postcard collector cut the card to fit the space in his album, and multiple internet sites posted scans of that one card. This indicates that although there are many instances of a photo posted on the internet, they may all be scanned from one or two postcards. Therefore, there may be two different versions of the same postcard, but only one has been posted on the net.

Lehnert and Landrock – Garconnet Nu Assis et Fillette Nue Debout (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Garconnet Nu Assis et Fillette Nue Debout (cropped) (1904-1914)

In 1914, the First World War began. Lehnert and Landrock were both nationals of countries at war with France, the protecting power in Tunisia. Their business was closed and they had to leave Tunisia. In 1924, after the war, Lehnert and Landrock started their business over again in Cairo, Egypt. Lehnert died in 1948 and Landrock in 1966. Their business in Cairo has continued after the death of its founders. In 1982, the new manager of the shop discovered the old negatives in storage. There was a resurgence in popularity of Lehnert and Landrock’s art. There was some concern that the negatives of nudes may not be safe in Cairo, so they were sent to the Elysée museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-daro

This little statuette is the best known work of art from the Indus Valley civilization, which was, with Egypt and Mesopotamia, one of the great seminal civilizations of the fourth to second millennia BC. The antecedents of the Indus valley culture go back to about 7000 BC. The high civilization began around 3300 BC, and reached its height during the period of 2500 to 1700 BC. Mohenjo-daro, one of the two great cities of the Indus Valley, was destroyed in an invasion circa 1500 BC, but vestiges lingered perhaps as late as 600 BC. Mohenjo-daro is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Anonymous – Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-daro (2300 – 1750 B.C.)

Of the three contemporary river valley civilizations; Egypt (Nile Valley), Mesopotamia (Tigris – Euphrates Valleys), and the Indus Valley, the Indus had the greatest geographical extent. It was also the last to be known to modern historians, having been discovered in 1921 near Harappa, Pakistan. It became apparent that the ancient Indus Valley people were masters of technical skills such as city planning, construction, and drainage. They are believed to have spoken a Dravidian language, and may have had a religion similar to Jainism. They had a system of writing, but we are not able to read it. It is peculiar that there was a form of writing on Easter Island that used characters very similar to some of the Indus characters. Easter Island is near the antipode, the farthest point on earth, from Pakistan.

The Dancing Girl figurine was found in the ruins of a house in Moheno-daro by archaeologist Ernest MacKay in 1926. It is estimated that it was made circa 2300 – 1750 BC. We don’t know if she was really a dancer, but her long limbs and graceful pose seem to indicate a dancer or acrobat. There is a reason that many of the best gymnasts and dancers are young girls. Females have narrower shoulders and wider hips than males. This gives them a lower center of gravity, and therefore better balance than males. Young girls, before their breasts are fully developed, have better balance than women with larger breasts.

Anonymous – Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-daro back (2300 – 1750 B.C.)

The bronze figure is 4.1 inches tall now that the feet have been broken off and lost. It was cast by the lost wax method. The Indus Valley art that survives consists mostly of terra cotta figurines and carved stone seals. Dancing Girl is noted for the serene, perhaps arrogant facial expression. Her right arm is bent, and her left hand rests on her leg. She appears to be resting after a performance. The posture is like that of a figure on a pottery fragment from Bhirrana, in the Indus Valley region of India, dated to about 4000 to 3000 BC. Originally, something was held in Dancing Girl ‘s left hand. My guess would be that it was a stick with a ribbon like those used in rhythmic gymnastic performances.

Anonymous – Bhirrana Potshard (4000 – 3000 BC)

Dancing Girl has been said to resemble the modern Baluchi people of Pakistan. One archaeologist wrote that her face resembles an African. Why more bracelets on one arm than other? There are twenty-four bracelets on the left arm, and four on right. People have speculated about whether her dance was for a religious ceremony or merely for entertainment, but we have no way of knowing.

When Dancing Girl was discovered in 1926, India, Pakistan, and several other countries in the area were part of Britain’s Indian Empire. The statuette is now on display in the National Museum in New Delhi, India. Pakistan claims ownership, and has asked for it to be returned.

Random Images: Xaver Bergmann

A reader came across this unusual figurine for auction. The really remarkable thing about it is that it is overtly erotic and looking at the physique of the girl, she is clearly very young. It would have been interesting to get into the head of the artist to understand the logic for composing this kind of subject for a Vienna Bronze. I own a very small one of a girl with a mandolin and so it must have been quite common to feature nude subjects in this medium.

Xaver Bergmann – Orientale mit Katze (1850s?)

I believe the title (Easterner [Arab] with Cat) was meant to be suggestive implying an erotic subject. Although there is no date indicated in the auction, Vienna Bronzes were made starting in the 1850s.

Maiden Voyages: Happy New Year 2021!

Readers can make a perfectly reasonable case that I have been neglectful the past few months. And although we try to present things as professionally as possible, I should reiterate that this is a volunteer enterprise and work can only be done as time permits. I have been promised some articles from a few of our readers, but only Moko has followed through so far.

Young Environmental Activists: We mentioned the work of Greta Thunberg and Ralyn Satidtanasarn who captured the public imagination as among of the youngest activists. In a sense, age is not a requirement to be effective protester. In fact, it could be these girls’ innocence that might finally move us grown-ups to affect some meaningful change. We can now add Licypriya Kangujam from India to the list (Instagram account). I only hope the novelty of these youngsters does not wear off before real progress is made.

The Trouble with Controversies: The release of controversial materials is not just a legal/ethical matter. But because there tends to be some kind of public outcry, it becomes almost impossible to the judge the merits of the piece objectively and discuss whether the nudity or sexual content is just sensationalism or an essential part of the work. A case in point is the 2020 film Cuties (French, Mignonnes), a coming-of-age story of a young dancer (trailer here). In typical corporate fashion, Netflix has apologized in response to protests, really satisfying no one (sorry but not sorry). You can find some of the discussion here, here, here and here. I would be interested in what Pigtails readers think.

Our Artist Fans: It is always a delight when a living artist sees our site and is pleased with it. This happened recently with Dolphine (Andrei Sharapov, aka d’Elf) who requested a dedicated post. Pip discovered this artist long ago and there are numerous lovely submissions, but given the extensive coverage already given here (and my limited time), we have to decline. However, I am happy to share key links to his gallery and Instagram.

Defunct Websites: We aren’t the only ones operating on a as-time-permits basis. That is why some sites have disappeared, most notably Novel Activist. It was my intent to reissue some of the more important pieces right here (with the author’s permission). Fortunately, our internet host has taken it upon himself to reconstruct the site in full and make it available. The project is basically complete but cannot be published until some sense is made of the connecting links. Also, some of the images are missing or of poor quality so some assistance will be needed by our readers when the reissue is released.

Last Chance for the Movie Guide: I remind readers of an excellent resource recently released for movies featuring young girls, Quilty’s Guide to Nymphets in the Movies. It is not simply a list of films but bona fide reviews with the author’s opinion of the merit (or lack thereof) of each one. I am told that the book will be removed soon from Blurb and will be sold for a higher price on the secondary market so if you intended to get this one, do so soon.

Postcard Archives: Although we gripe about the amount of censorship of legitimate artistic nudity, sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. A reader found a collection with a couple of adolescent nudes and I simply share them with you (here and here).

Comparative Anatomy: Ladybird Books

In a discussion on contrivances, the subject of sex education (really just anatomy education) the subject of drawings versus photos was discussed. In the Will McBride book, photos were used but given that these are actual children, using their bodies in an illustrative text might be stigmatic and ethically questionable. The most obvious solution is to use realistic (and accurate) drawings. That way, the particular personality of the child would not be identified as some real person even if there was a life model originally. The amusing bit is that with the English-speaking world’s discomfort with frank presentations of the naked body, many books have become overly cartoonish, offering little useful detail. Ladybird Books was cited to by a number of readers as a good exception. Your Body was published in 1967 and a blogger (The Serendipity Project) took the trouble to scan its contents.

Robert Ayton – from Your Body (1967)

Interestingly, one of the other images in that book shows a family at the beach and guess what? The little girl is wearing no top! Yet another can of worms that has been discussed on this site regarding the convention of topless girl children on public beaches.