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South Arabian alabaster head of a woman

South Arabian alabaster head of a woman

South Arabian, c. 1st Century BC - 1st century AD

Height: 29.6 cm (inc. base)


A South Arabian head of remarkable and rare character and quality. Alert and engaging, with a long tapering neck and ovoid face, her roughly chiselled hair tucked behind her ears. Her expressive eyebrows are arched over almond shaped eyes of white stone, which would have been inlaid with glass or lapis pupils, traces of which remain.


This form of head is associated with the kingdom of Qataban which, together with Ma’inSaba, Himyar, and Hadhramaut, was one of the five kingdoms of southern Arabia, in modern day Yemen.


Provenance: From the Collection of the late Ralph Hinshelwood Daly OBE (1924-2006), acquired prior to 1967; bequeathed to Annette and Andree Spalton, 2010.

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