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Judy Chicago, Amazon Dinner Plate, from the Dinner Party, 2018
Hand numbered from the limited edition of 150 with COA from BOTH artist and publisher and gallery. Long sold out collectors' edition. Held in original box for gift giving. This very limited edition received an incredible splash of publicity in the mainstream press when it was first released. Even the tabloids reported on these plates with headlines like that of the New York Post: "Now You Can Eat Off Artist's Famous Vagina Plates." Within short order, they completely sold out, with many being snagged by museums and public and private institutions - so they are scarcely seen on the market. Here's more background;
In 1979, Judy Chicago set the art world’s most famous table.
Her installation, "The Dinner Party," consists of a floor inscribed with 999 notable women from history as well as a triangular table with 39 dinner settings arranged in a chronological timeline of famous women. Each spot at the table includes a custom handmade table runner and, most famously, a plate with vagina iconography representative of each guest's aesthetics and accomplishments.
According to Greek mythology, the Amazons were warrior women living northeast of Ancient Greece during the later Bronze Age, between approximately 1900 and 1200 B.C.E. The source of the Amazonian myths is classical Greek literature, where they were first mentioned by Homer.
The most popular account of the Amazon warrior is from Greek mythology—the account of the ninth labor of Herakles, who was the son of the god Zeus by a mortal woman. Zeus’s jealous wife, Hera, charged Herakles with ten tasks thought to be impossible—the ninth was to the steal the girdle from the Amazon queen Hippolyta. To complete the task, Herakles and his men went to the Amazon capital, Themiscyra, located on the coast of the Black Sea, and demanded Hippolyta give them the girdle. When she refused, a bloody battle ensued in which many of the best Amazonian warriors were slain and eventually defeated. As part of their victory, Herakles captured an Amazonian princess named Antiope and gave her to Theseus, one of the legendary kings of Athens, to thank him for his help. Antiope went with them to Athens and lived as Theseus’s concubine. She fell in love with him and gave birth to his son Hippolyte. The surviving Amazons unified with allies from Scythia (an area inhabited by nomadic people known as the Scythians, in what is modern-day Mongolia, China, Russia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) and traveled to Attica (modern southern Greece) to attack Athens and rescue Antiope. During the battle, Antiope fought on the Athenian side, and after another brutal defeat, the Amazons returned to their homeland.
Another famous story involves the Amazon warrior Penthesilia, who went to Troy (present-day Turkey) to aid the Trojans in battle. She engaged in one-on-one combat with Achilles, who eventually killed her. However, the moment before she died, he lifted her helmet to see her face and fell in love with her. This scene, prized for its emotional value, is reproduced in classical Greek art in many forms.
There are many legends of the Amazon warriors; in some accounts, they live in an exclusively female society and seek out men only once a year in order to procreate. There are versions that recount their killing, mutilating, or selling their male offspring into slavery. Although there is no conclusive evidence linking these myths to any ancient tribes resembling the Amazons, the subject’s popularity and its representations in art and literature has engendered many successive legends. The Amazon Warrior holds an important place at The Dinner Party, representing a tradition of powerful female warriors and the value of unified communities of women.
Amazon at The Dinner Party
The Amazon women are represented in the place setting as a symbolic individual, although the names of individual Amazon warriors such as Hippolyte, Lampedo, and Penthesilia are inscribed on the Heritage Floor. The place setting represents Amazon women both as warriors and as goddess worshippers. The color palette—black, red, and white—is traditionally used in their artistic representation.
On the plate is an image of breasts covered in gold and silver, representing the breastplates that the warriors wore in battle. The image may also refer to the legend that Amazon warriors cut off one of their breasts to be better archers. The plate also depicts two double-headed axes, a white egg, a red crescent, and a black stone, all of which are associated with the Amazons. In addition to their use in battle, double-headed axes were an element of goddess worship in Crete, the center of the Minoan world, 2600–1400 B.C.E.
, and they were also traditionally used by women to cut down trees. The white egg is a symbol of fertility; the red crescent is tied to the worship of the Great Mother and her connection with the moon; and the black stone was the earliest incarnation of the goddess in Sumer, 3500–2334 B.C.E., present-day Iraq.