Mesopotamian. 2nd-1st millennium BC
Sold Sotheby’s New York, 8 December 1995, lot 145
Length: 23.5 cm
The stylized bird is shown with a broad plump body and elegantly flaring tail. The head, on an elongated neck, is turned to rest on the back. The outline of the bird's bill finely incised.
c. 2nd millennium BC
Collection of Seward Kennedy, London, acquired 1970s
Diameter: 9.4cm Overall width: 12.9cm
A shallow bowl resting on a rounded base, the rim everted and extended into a single lengthy spout. The translucency of the stone made more apparent by the thin walls of this attractive little vessel.
1st century BC - 1st century AD
With Gimpel Fils prior to 1970s; Collection of Bruno Grunfeld, UK
Similar examples are illustrated in the Gimpel Fils exhibition catalogue, 'Sculpture from South Arabia', 1970, nos. 23 and 45. A comparable example showing the same pose is in the collection of the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (acquisition number 21.73). A stele with similar figure but with arms across the body was included in the British Museum exhibition 'Queen of Sheba, Treasures from Ancient Yemen’; catalogue by St John Simpson, London, 2002, p. 199, no. 281.
Dimensions: 24 x 19 cm
The half length figure rounded at the bottom emerges from a flat panel, a ledge protruding along the base which may originally have borne the donor's name. She raises her right hand with the palm open towards the viewer and in her left holds a bundle which may represent wheat. Deeply hollowed eyes below grooved eyebrows which would all have been inlaid, a small cleft in the chin. The figure represents a priestess portrayed to intercede with the sun goddess on behalf of the donor.
Luristan. c. 700 BC
Private collection, USA acquired 1990s
A cheekpiece from a horse bit depicting a similar subject in the Nasli M Heeramaneck Collection of Ancient Near Eastern and Central Asian Art now on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Diameter: 6.5 cm
The circular bronze disc decorated in low relief with the Master of the Animals standing in the centre holding an ibex by a rear leg in each hand. The hero is depicted with a long pointed beard and large round eyes. He wears a long belted tunic and thick boots. A repousse beaded border around the edge of the plaque.
Some small losses around the outer border and a small hole above his right foot filled.
Early 1st millennium BC
European private collection, UK and Switzerland, formed in the 1970s and 1980s; Private collection, Switzerland, acquired 2003
Comparable examples were included in the Barcelona exhibition of Mediterranean female images from Prehistoric times to the Roman Period, see the catalogue, 'Deesses Diosas Goddesses', 2000, nos. 80 and 81.
Height: 33 cm
The stylised figure standing with arms folded in beneath the diminutive breasts, the elongated body with grooved spine, exaggerated hips and protruding buttocks tapering to narrow legs. The bulbous head with double pierced ears and tall headdress.
Amlash refers to sites in the province of Gilan, Iran along the Caspian Sea. The culture is renowned for its distinctive ceramic figures and animals.
This comes with a thermoluminescence test report from Oxford Authentication confirming its antiquity.
c. 1st Century BC - 1st century AD
From the Collection of the late Ralph Hinshelwood Daly OBE (1924-2006), acquired prior to 1967.
In 1955 Daly joined the Colonial Service and was posted to the Aden Protectorates that today form the Republic of Yemen. It was here that he met and married his wife Elizabeth Anne Daly (née Fenton Wells) and acquired the collection of alabaster sculptures. In 1967 the Aden Protectorates became independent from Britain, and Ralph, awarded an OBE for his work, retired from the Colonial Service and returned with Elizabeth to Europe, taking their collection of alabasters with them.
For a similar example, nicknamed 'Miriam' by the workman at the time of discovery, see St. J. Simpson (ed.), 'Queen of Sheba, Treasures of Ancient Yemen', London, 2002, pp. 194-195, no. 270. This head retains the plaster hair.
Height: 29.6 cm (inc. base)
The head with long tapering neck and shield shaped face. Thin arching brows above almond-shaped eyes inlaid with white stone, the pupils originally of glass or lapis (mostly missing). Her long straight nose above a narrow mouth. Her roughly chiselled hair seemingly tucked behind small, protruding ears. This rough finish to the hair and top of the head may have allowed the figure to be finished with the addition of plaster or stucco. The alabaster base, if not original, is certainly ancient. The stepped form is more usually associated with altars but it may have been reused.
This form of head is associated with the kingdom of Qataban which, together with Ma’in, Saba, Himyar, and Hadhramaut, was one of the five kingdoms of southern Arabia. Pliny the Elder recorded that Timna, the capital of this ancient kingdom was a busy metropolis housing no less than 65 temple complexes. Its wealth was based on its monopoly of the ancient cinnamon and incense trade routes. The area was first excavated in the 1950s by the American archaeologist Wendell Phillips, (W. Phillips, 'Qataban and Sheba: Exploring the ancient kingdoms on the Biblical spice routes of Arabia', London, 1955).
For a similar vessel see Marie-Hélène Pottier, 'Matériel Funéraire de la Bactraine Méridionale de l'Âge du Bronze', Paris, 1984, pl. XXVI, no. 207.
The large vessel of opaque alabaster with attractive horizontal banding. Concave sides flare out to a convex and slightly irregular base, a flat everted rim to the mouth. The surface of the stone worn from weathering.
Phoenician, 6th-5th century BC
See E. Marianne Stern, Birgit Schlick-Nolte, 'Early Glass of the Ancient World, 1600 BC-AD 50. The Ernesto Wolf Collection', (Germany, 1994) pp. 180-181 for a similar example.
The face with a jutting beard is of opaque turquoise and yellow glass with eyes shown as small dots of blue and yellow glass. Thick yellow lines represent the brows. A loop of glass to the top of the head. The whole now covered in a silvery iridescence.
Height: 2.4 cm
Early Bronze Age, c. 2700-2100 BC
For a similar complete example see Jurgen Thimme, 'Kunst und Kultur der Kykladeninseln im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr.', Karlsruhe 1976, no.563, ill. p.403 and Oscar White Muscarella (Ed.), 'Ancient Art: The Norbert Schimmel Collection', Exhibition Catalogue, Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, Mainz 1974, no. 8.
The highly stylized oval head with two small ears and long nasal ridge leans slightly back. A short neck to broad rounded shoulders, deep oblique grooves delineate the arms at the back, with the forearms bent upwards at the elbow to give them a wing-like appearance. The figure broken just above the waist.
Height: 4.8 cm
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