A Kurlan naiskos was a ceramic figurine statue made by the Kurlan civilization, vaguely similar to a Russian Matryoshka doll from Earth. A naiskos consists of a large hollow body, of which the top half can be removed to reveal several smaller figurines inside, similar in shape to the original one. Naiskoi reflected Kurlan philosophy in the sense that they believed that an individual was actually a community of individuals, each with their own voice, their own desires and their own view of the world. Ornamentation on the surface of a naiskos indicates which dynasty of the Kurlan civilization it came from. Because the Kurlan civilization died out millennia prior to the 24th century, a complete or intact naiskos is extremely rare, making these highly valuable to collectors and archaeologists.
In 2369, Captain Jean-Luc Picard's former mentor, Professor Richard Galen, gave him a complete and intact Third Dynasty Kurlan naiskos manufactured by the Master of Tarquin Hill, which was more than 12,000 years old. Picard was clearly moved by this gift.
Because the Master's work anticipated general design trends by approximately 300 years, Picard's initial assessment was that it was Fifth Dynasty. However, after a prompt from Galen, he made a closer examination and correctly identified it. (TNG: "The Chase")