The historical region of Canaan dates as far back as the 4th millennium B.C.E. when various hunter-gatherer cultures began to practice agriculture and settle in modern day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. By the late Bronze Age of the 2nd millennium B.C.E. the region of Canaan was well established, yet there is some speculation as to whether there was ever a unified culture or ethnic group that lived in the area.
There was no single state theology associated with the Canaanite pantheon of gods and goddesses, so Canaanite art takes inspiration from deities corresponding to fertility of the earth and the seasonal rains. Similarly, Canaanites were in close proximity to the churn of cultures that produced numerous vessels and objects that remain important to the region’s archaeological record. Some of these vessels can be found within the Baidun collection, their salubrious shapes giving testament to the fertile crops and simple aesthetic of ancient Canaan.
Canaan was in close proximity to the great Egyptian empires of the 1st and 2nd millennia B.C.E., and its fate was tightly wound with the fortunes of its powerful neighbor. Around 1600 B.C.E. there was a breakdown in the centralized power in Egypt, and a succession of competing Pharaohs left Canaan an ethnically diverse land. By the Early Iron Age, the ancient region known as Canaan had become dominated by the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. There are few remnants of Canaanite culture left, so that is why the artifacts and objects that do remain are of such vital importance and offer our modern times a deep and lasting resonance.