- Museum number
Cast copper alloy statuette of a one-humped camel; front and rear legs cast as one; single shallow triangular impressions from casting on the reverse in the centre of the hump and on the front above the forelegs; depicted with a halter around its neck, ending in a pair of ties hanging down the front; inscribed on the right flank with a South Arabian dedication to the god Wadd'ab; pin slightly projecting from the bottom of the foot; rear leg largely missing.
- Production date
- 2ndC BC-1stC BC
Height: 11 centimetres
Length: 11 centimetres
Weight: 140.30 grammes
- Curator's comments
This camel statuette is depicted with a halter around its neck and is inscribed with a short dedicatory Sabaean inscription to the god Wadd'ab (Ryckmans 1951a, 35; Ryckmans 1960a, 217). Wadd-ab means "Wadd is the father"; Wadd means 'love' and was an important lunar god worshipped in the Jawf, in the Marib and Sana'a regions, and in the wadi Markha (sacred to Nashshan, Kaminahu, Ma 'in, Inabba, Saba, Ma'dhin and Awsan), whose symbol was the serpent (Calvet & Robin eds 1997a, 316; de Maigret 2002, 263). According to the file card, the camel was from the Hadramawt where Wadd is not worshipped which suggests that this camel amulet may have belonged to Minean or Sabaean merchants. A similar example in the Staatliches Museum für Volkerkunde in Munich is inscribed with a dedication to Zalim, son of Harmat, as he has promised the lord of the sanctuary' (Seipel 1998a, 315, no. 219). Uninscribed bronze camel statuettes are also known, including those excavated at Qaryat al-Fau (Kitchen 1998a, 152-4 and refs). Camels played a key role in transport between the South Arabian cities and longer-distance trade linking Arabia with other parts of the Near East, hence it is unsurprising to find that they were represented in this form.
De Maigret, 2002. 'Arabia Felix: An exploration of the Archaeological History of Yemen', London: Stacey International.
Kitchen, K.A., 1998. "Three unusual Sabaean inscriptions in bronze", 'Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies' 28, 149-56.
Ryckmans, J., 1951a. 'Les Religions Arabes preislamiques', Louvain: Université de Louvain.
Ryckmans, J., 1960a. 'Les Religions Arabes preislamiques', Paris: Aristide Quillet; L'Histoire Generale des Religions.
Formerly mounted on a polished marble base inscribed in black on the front: " Bronze figure of a camel with Himyaritic inscription. Southern Arabia" (removed during conservation 2001/02).
Bowers catalogue entry
Camel statuette with a dedicatory inscription to the god Waddab
Possibly 2nd - 1st centuries BC
Height 11 cm, length 11 cm, width 1.2 cm; 140.3 g weight
Said to be from the Hadramawt
ANE 1907-10-12,5 = 102480
Purchased from Charles Albert Brenchley through George Hallett
This one-humped camel statuette is depicted with a halter around its neck ending in a pair of ties at the front, with its legs indicated by single castings. Shallow triangular impressions on the reverse and above the forelegs are the result of the casting; the small pin projecting from the feet would have enabled it to be secured to a base. It is inscribed on its right flank with a short dedicatory inscription to the god Waddab; a similar example in the Staatliches Museum fűr Volkerkunde in Munich is inscribed with a dedication to “Zalim, son of Harmat, as he has promised the lord of the sanctuary”. Other inscribed camel statuettes carry dedicatory inscriptions to the god Samawi, who appears to have been particularly venerated by the Amirum tribe. Uninscribed bronze camel statuettes are also known, for instance from excavations at the site of Qaryat al-Fau in south-western Saudi Arabia, and are again often shown with a rope halter around their neck. The frequency with which camels were the subject of religious dedications underlines their importance in the Arabian economy. They were not only valued for their wool, milk and meat, but they also played a vital role in transport between the South Arabian cities and longer-distance trade linking Arabia with other parts of the Near East. During the early centuries AD in Yemen, as well in as other parts of Arabia, camels were also occasionally slaughtered and buried next to their deceased owners as a sign of status.
- On display (G42/dc1)
- Exhibition history
2017-2018 17 Jan-2 Jul, Basel, Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, 'Arabia Felix: Treasures from Ancient South Arabia'
2010 29 May-15 Oct, USA, Kentucky Horse Park, 'A Gift from the Desert'
2002 5 Jun-13 Oct, BM, 'Queen of Sheba: Treasures from ancient Yemen'
2004-2005 17 Oct-13 Mar, California, Bowers Museum, 'Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality'
- Rear leg largely missing.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- see Trustees' Minutes and letter from Hallett accepting £17 or £18 on behalf of Brenchley for "the collection of inscriptions, relics, etc. contained in the two boxes already delivered to you" (ANE Correspondence, dated 3 September 1906).
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: CIH 84
Miscellaneous number: RES 4083