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Home > Auctions > 2nd June 2020 > Anatolian Chalcolithic 'Star Gazer' Idol

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LOT 0511

GBP (£) 5,000 - 7,000
EUR (€) 5,520 - 7,730
USD ($) 6,150 - 8,610

Opening Bid
£4,500 (EUR 4,972; USD 5,536) (+bp*)

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Anatolian Chalcolithic 'Star Gazer' Idol

3rd millennium BC

A carved marble idol; arms bent at the elbow where a contrast in the size of the upper and lower arm is apparent; wide hips with tapering lower body; legs and pelvic region defined with incised lines at the front of the body; buttocks defined by a single downward facing triangular-shaped incised line at the rear; mounted on a custom-made stand. 526 grams total, 23cm including stand (9"). Fine condition.

From an important London collection; formerly in an old private English collection, formed in the 1970s.
See von Bothmer, D., Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection, New York, 1990.
Early Cycladic sculpture comprises predominantly female figures that range from simple modification of the stone to developed representations of the human form, some with natural proportions and some more idealised. Many of these figures, especially those of the Spedos type, display a remarkable consistency in form and proportion that suggests they were planned with a compass. Scientific analysis has shown that the surface of the marble was painted with mineral-based pigments-azurite for blue and iron ores, or cinnabar for red. The exact purpose of these figures is not known but their most likely function is as some sort of religious idol and the predominance of female figures, sometimes pregnant, suggests a fertility deity. Supporting this view is the fact that figurines have been found outside of a burial context at settlements on Melos, Kea and Thera. Alternatively, precisely because the majority of figures have been found in graves, perhaps they were guardians to, or representations of, the deceased.