Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Museum

ON THE COVER: This two-foot-high, square, hollow cult stand from late 10th-century B.C.E. Taanach contains two depictions of the goddess Asherah. The first is a nude woman in the middle of the left bottom register. She appears again in the third register from the bottom, this time as a branching tree flanked by ibexes. Both this and the bottom register feature lions on the outside column, an association seen in other depictions of Asherah. Author Ruth Hestrin traces the development of this important goddess’s iconography in “Understanding Asherah.”