Erich Lessing

BECKONING TO DEVOTEES, the women who stand like columns in front of the house shrine from the Moussaieff collection emphasize the relationship between the tree and the goddess. These figures most likely represent Asherah standing at her shrine, much like a Cypriot example from Idalion, now in the Louvre. Excavated from a grave in the Idalion necropolis, this house shrine dates to about the sixth century B.C.E. A female— probably the goddess Astarte— stands in the doorway and at the windows on either side of the naos. The hollows along the top are dovecotes, which house doves, a symbol of Astarte.