The State Hermitage museum
This stone statue, an example of Polovtsian monumental sculpture, belongs to the type of standing female statues which were characteristic for the period when Polovtsian work in stone flourished.
Pagan stone idols placed on elevated places or at the confluence of rivers were commonplace on the wide expanses of steppe in Eurasia. They were erected for ritual purposes by a Turkic nomadic people who arrived from the East and bore the name of Polovtsy, Komans, or Kipchaks.
This massive female figure is presented in the canonic pose with arms crossed at the waist. She is holding a cylindrical vessel with a neck. Polovtsian stone sculptures were characteristically in a static pose with arms crossed below the stomach and with a ritual vessel. Evidently this served for offering sacrifices or "regaling" the idol. For this purpose a small depression was made in the upper part of the vessel. Statues like this were placed in high locations or on kurgans and were dedicated to deceased ancestors who were considered to be heroes. As embodiments of ancestors who had become divinities, the "stone ladies" were used in ceremonies. The face of the statue has no individual features. The female figure is presented in rich dress. She wears a long kaftan which is embroidered on the sleeves and edges, sharovary, short boots and a set of adornments. Such a statue would likely have headwear which has been lost due to damage of the upper part. On the left side of the head there are still traces of so-called "horns," which were decorations to the headwear and had the form of stamped half-rings sewn onto cylinders of felt. A two-sided comb and mirror are suspended to the waist. Mirrors were typically present on female statues.