South Arabian Bronze Statuette of a Rider


A South Arabian hollow-cast bronze statuette of a male rider, portrayed in a stylised manner. The man is depicted with emphasised facial features, including large round eyes and sagging earlobes. He is seen extending his right arm to the side, with his hand in a semi-clenched fist, possibly to hold the reins. His left hand might have been in the same position, though it is now missing.  A belt is wrapped around his waist, and there are short vertical grooves on his trousers, indicating the texture or pattern of the fabric. Two triangular openings, on his chest and back, were incised into the bronze. The statuette would have likely been mounted on an animal, possibly a camel, also modelled in bronze. The piece comes with a custom-made stand.

Dimensions of the rider without the stand: H 8.3 cm x W 4.5 cm

Weight of the rider: 8.01g

Date: Circa 4th-1st century BC
Provenance: Ex major London collection collected by S.M. 1970-2010.
Condition: Fine condition. The figure is largely intact with the left arm now missing. The hollow form still retains its organic filling in some areas.

In stock

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.

Large scale excavations of the region have only really commenced in the last 70 years, but have produced an extensive repertoire of small and large-scale bronze figures. The extensiveness of the finds shows that bronze figures were culturally significant to the South Arabian civilisation and this extended to the variety of figures found. Animals and their associated riders make up a large part of this repertoire, and given the semi-nomadic infrastructure of the society, it is easy to see the value such animals had. Horses, equestrians, camels and their riders were well used across the South Arabian caravan.

Weight 156.4 g
Dimensions L 4.7 x W 5 x H 11.4 cm



Reference: For a similar rider statue, The British Museum, item 125343 and for a stylistically similar figure, The British Museum, item 130902

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