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LOT 0222

GBP (£) 12,000 - 17,000
EUR (€) 14,000 - 19,830
USD ($) 15,480 - 21,930

Opening Bid
£10,800 (EUR 12,599; USD 13,930) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Sabaean Alabaster Head with Inlaid Eyes

8th century BC-3rd century AD

A carved alabaster male head with finely modelled features, inlaid glass(?) eyes with black glass pupils; mounted on a custom-made stand. 8.5 kg, 31.5cm (12 1/2"). Very fine condition.

Acquired by the current owner in 2007; formerly in a private collection since 1983; accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate no. S00054659.

Cf. marble head from Arabia Felix from the later centuries BC in the Louvre, Paris; Musée du Louvre, Atlas database: entry 13290.

The Sabaeans were an ancient people of South Arabia, modern Yemen, who founded the kingdom of Sabaʾ in the early 1st millennium BC, and which has entered the European consciousness as the biblical land of Sheba. The 'Queen of Sheba' appears in the Qu'ran and Hebrew Bible where the story refers to her bringing a caravan of valuable gifts for the Israelite King Solomon. The historicity of the account has been doubted, partly due to the many later elaborations of the tale in which the Queen appears as a potential rival to Solomon in wisdom. It is the case that female rulers were known among the Arab populations according to Assyrian sources. A Coptic (Egyptian Christian) legend describes how the Queen, having been seduced by deceit, gives Solomon a pillar on which all human knowledge is written. Solomon sends a demon to bring the pillar from its location in Ethiopia.

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Lot No. 0222

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 25th November 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 26th November 2019 (Day 1)
Lots 1-660 (Antiquities)

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

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