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. The principal South Arabian kingdoms were Qataban and Saba, which developed from the 8th century BC to the 5th century AD. Sabaeans were known as skilled traders and merchants. Although gold and silver were the main materials for the realm, bronze also was considered precious and often used.
Rare South Arabian Sabaean Bronze Idol
An extremely well-preserved and rare South Arabian cast bronze statuette belonging to the Sabaean civilisation. The idol depicts a male figure, portrayed standing with both arms bent forward in the typical pose of worship or pray, and with his straight legs firmly planted on a small plinth. The figure is shown bare chested, wearing a short lion-cloth and a collar. Facial features have been rendered in a stylised manner, with wide open eyes and a straight nose. Bronze statuettes of idols and worshippers, such as this fine example, would have placed in graves, temples or private shrines for devotion.
Provenance: From a collection formed in the 1970-90's, part of a deceased estate, 1988/90 dispersed amongst family members with a southern UK gallery in the 2000's
Condition: Extremely fine and rare example, minor chip to the back. The piece has been mounted on a custom-wooden stand, ideal for display.