Comparative Guts

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Terracotta anatomical votive; spiral coil ending in trefoil.

Tivoli/Lazio, 3rdC BC-1stC BC
© The Trustees of the British Museum
Museum Number 1899,0720.13 CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

This terracotta votive nicely combines the clean volumetric rotundity of the belly with the coiled shape of the imagined innards (intestines? the uterus? the spiral image as an abstract indication of ‘innerness’ and functionality)? As such, this coiled shape is even less intersted in the ‘real’ as tangible object and source of description in a raffiguration of function and form per se, imaginatively fitting the round shape of the lower abdomen that appears to the eye of the observer and is experienced by the living person as s/he touches, feels, covers his or her belly.