South Arabian Alabaster Lion Statuette

£ 995.00

A realistically carved figurine of a lion in alabaster. Recumbent on a rectangular plinth, the lion holds up its head in majestic demeanour. Its facial features and mane are etched with clear incisions, and so are its paws and tail, which rests underneath its rear right paw. The yellow cream coloured alabaster features some stable cracks, and some mineral impurities make the stone darker where the animal’s rear paws are.

Date: Circa 4th-1st Century BC.
Condition: Fine, some stable cracks in the stone, some filled with earthly deposits. A chip to the front of the plinth, a few light dents to the animal’s body. Base of the plinth uneven, so the statuette stands up lightly tilted to the right side.
Product Code: NES-118
Category: Tag:

The Ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy identified South Arabia – modern Yemen – as Eudaimon Arabia, meaning “fortunate Arabia” or “happy Arabia”, as a result of its wealth. This land flourished with trade, especially of frankincense and myrrh, but exchanges of small copper or bronze artefacts, like vessels, lamps or animal figurines were also common.

Ancient South Arabia is a geographical label referring to a region occupied by six semitic kingdoms: Sabaʼ, Qatabān, Ma‘īn, Ḥaḍramawt, the Kingdom of Awsan, and the Himyarite Kingdom. The territory of these kingdoms corresponds to a modern-day area including Yemen, and extending into Oman, north to the Arabian oasis of Dedan, to Ethiopia, and even as far along as the East African Coast, into modern Tanzania.

Animals occupied a prominent place in ancient art across a number of civilisations and across a variety of media, including painting, pottery, and jewellery. Some animals were venerated, whilst others were sacrificed. Their depiction is thus endowed with significance in several contexts: in religious rituals, as mythical creatures, and as incarnations or symbols of gods and goddesses.

Dimensions L 12.5 x H 9.5 cm

Near East (Western Asiatic)



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