Figurines by: David Harris; Jerusalem photo by: Richard Nowitz

ON THE COVER: Idols? Good-luck charms? Toys? “Idol Pleasures” explores various suggestions regarding the purpose of these figurines, now on view at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem. In front, from left: a seated woman, dating to 6000 B.C., from the Yarmukian culture of the northern Jordan Valley; a curly haired woman and a figure with a crenellated vessel on its head, both from late-third- or early-second-millenium B.C. Syria; two diminutive, large-eyed figures, one of alabaster and the other of black steatite, from the upper Khabur Valley in Syria, fourth millennium B.C.; and, behind them, a couple made of copper and jointed at the shoulders, from second-millennium northern Syria. Back row, from left: a standing woman in the Daedalic style of seventh-century B.C. Crete (see also WorldWide); a tubular copper female, eighth- or seventh-century B.C. Luristan (western Iran); a two-headed figure from early-second-millennium B.C. Cyprus; and a pillar-shaped woman from late-third- or early-second-millennium B.C. Syria.