Phoenician Bronze Patrix Die with a Female


A Phoenician patrix die cast from bronze featuring a mummiform shape with concave side walls and an ellipsoidal base. The upper face is finely engraved with the image of a standing female. She is depicted with her wavy hair parted in the middle, raising her right hand and cupping her breast whilst the left is holding the hem of her full-length garment. Careful attention has been paid to render the naturalistic facial features as well as the detailed pleats showing the textures of the fabrics.

Date: Circa 5th-3rd century BC
Provenance: Collected from 1970-1999. From the collection of the late Mr S.M., London, UK.
Condition: Fine condition with some patination and earthly encrustations to the surface.


SKU: CY-201 Category: Tag:

The die was likely used for repoussé work. The repoussé technique was often used by ancient civilisations to create a decorative metalwork reliefs or patterns in gold, silver, copper and other malleable metal items. They were created by hammering them from the reverse onto the pattern etched into bronze, like this fine example. The technique was used to create delicate gold and silver-ware, and has also been seen in ancient jewellery, shields and plaques.

The posture of the female figure on this piece is commonly found in many ancient civilisations across the Near East and the Mediterranean. Such a posture, with one hand or both cupping the breasts, suggests a link to fertility cults and the female can be interpreted as a goddess in some cultures, such as Tanit the patron goddess of Carthage, or Ishtar the Mesopotamian fertility goddess.

Weight 235.7 g
Dimensions L 7.0 x W 2.3 x H 2.8 cm



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