Choose Category:

Absentee Bids: Leaderboard
Bids: 2510 / Total: £471,511
Country | Highest | Top
Home > Auctions > 7th September 2021 > Large Yemenite Anthropomorphic Idol

Print page | Email lot to a friend

Back to previous page

LOT 0209

GBP (£) 15,000 - 20,000
EUR (€) 17,630 - 23,500
USD ($) 20,900 - 27,870

Opening Bid
£13,500 (EUR 15,866; USD 18,813) (+bp*)

Add to Watch list

Please login or register here.

Bid History: 0

Large Yemenite Anthropomorphic Idol

3rd-2nd millennium BC

A substantial Bronze Age sandstone statuette with carved long body and small head, stylised heart-shaped face with recessed eyes; the arms folded in front with an incised line at the waist, a diagonal sash or a clothing across the body; mounted on a custom-made display stand. 3.90 kg total, 40.5cm including stand (16"). Fine condition, repaired.

Private collection, London, UK; acquired from Baidun Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel, 28 October 2014; previously in a private French collection, Paris, 2011; formerly in a private collection, Switzerland, acquired c.1980; accompanied by a copy of the Israeli export permit number 527208, a copy of the French cultural passport no.140796 dated 16 October 2012, and an archaeological expertise by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato, and copies of various book page references; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10809-178694.

Cf. similar sculptures in Gribaudo, P. (ed.), La Regina di Saba, arte e leggenda dello Yemen, Milano, 2000, pp.69-71, statuettes from Hadramawl, E Marib, Bani Sulayh, Al-Jawt; De Maigret, A., Yemen, nel paese della regina di Saba, Milano, 2000, figs.67,71-72, pp.293ff.; De Maigret, A., Arabia Felix, an exploration of the archaeological history of Yemen, London, 2001, figs.75-77, pp.345-347; Simpson, S., Queen of Sheba. Treasures from Ancient Yemen, London, 2002, p.96, nos.88-90.

Stone statuettes of this type are often found in the Yemeni highlands and in the Western Ramlat as-Sab’atayn. They are among the most ancient anthropomorphic depictions in South Arabia. Our sculpture belongs to an earlier phase of the idol representation, related to the typology of the so-called ‘Forefather’ statuettes. They could have been idols, destined to a domestic altar, like the idol found in Bani Sulayh, which was found in an archaeological context and was an important departure point for the chronological order of similar finds. Their interpretation as idols is linked to the idea that they represented the divine ancestor-protectors of the dead, or symbols of fecundity.