- Museum number
Cast bronze, incense-burner in the form of a bowl with a splayed foot, one wall raised to form a sort of shield surmounted by spikes, with the front decorated with the standing figure of an ibex or wild goat (Ovis orientalia) below star and crescent moon symbols which were originally highlighted with inlay, now missing. There is a petaled motif on the right hindquarters of the ibex and a star on its right shoulder. Traces of the clay core resulting from the original lost-wax casting process are visible within the bowl and on the underside of the footed base. The animal presumably served both as a convenient handle and as a cult object.
- Production date
- 8thC BC-3rdC BC (between)
Diameter: 13.50 centimetres
Height: 23.90 centimetres
Weight: 2388 grammes
Width: 18 centimetres
Volume: 320 millilitres
- Curator's comments
- Incense-burner with figure of an ibex or wild goat (Ovis orientalia)
Possibly 3rd century BC
Height 23.9 cm, width 18 cm, diameter 13.5 cm; 2388 g weight; capacity 320 ml
ANE 1960-12-12,1 = 132909
Presented by Dr Sidney E. Croskery
This cast bronze incense-burner is in the form of a bowl with a splayed foot, one wall raised to form a sort of heat-shield surmounted by spikes, with the front decorated with the standing figure of an ibex or wild goat below star and crescent moon symbols which were originally highlighted with inlay, now missing. There is a petaled motif on the right hindquarters of the ibex and a star on its right shoulder. Traces of the clay core resulting from the original lost-wax casting process are visible within the bowl and on the underside of the footed base. The animal perhaps served both as a convenient handle and as a cult object. It was obtained by the donor while she worked in Yemen as a medical doctor from 1939-1967.
Two very similar bronze incense burners exist in the University Museum, Philadelphia and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Muscarella 1988, 3535, no. 476). There are an additional two in the Aden National Museum (Antonini 2007, 196-197, NAM 1423, NAM 1455). The Italian mission excavated a minature version at Timna (Antonini 2007, 197, II.B.a.2.4) and there is a miniature version in the collection of the British Museum (BM 1985,0223.143). A similar ivory container was excavated in a ninth-century BC context at the site of Hama in central Syria (Riis 1948, 179-82, fig. 230) and has been previously interpreted as an early South Arabian export to the Levant (Barnett 1964), but whether it was indeed made in southern Arabia is uncertain, as is its function, because ivory is far from suitable as a material for an incense-burner.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2017-2018 17 Jan-2 Jul, Basel, Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, 'Arabia Felix: Treasures from Ancient South Arabia'
2007 11 Jun-2013 17 Oct, BM, G53/South Arabia/2
2004 17 Oct-2005 13 Mar, California, Bowers Museum, 'Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality'
2002 5 Jun-13 Oct, BM, 'Queen of Sheba: Treasures from ancient Yemen'
2000 26 Sept-2001 7 Jan, Torino, Palazzo Bricherasio, 'La Regina di Saba, Arte e Leggenda Dallo Yemen'
2000 4 Apr-30 Jun, Rome, Fondazione Memmo, Palazzo Ruspoli, 'Nel paese della Regina di Saba'
1999 7 Jul-2000 9 Jan, München, Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, 'Im Land der Königin von Saba'
1998 9 Nov-1999 21 Feb, Vienna, Künstlerhaus, 'Jemen. Kunst und Archäologie im Land der Königin von Saba'
1997 20 Oct-1998 28 Feb, France, Paris, Musee de L’Institut du Monde Arabe, Yemen, Pays de la Reine de Saba
1976-1997 BM, West Stairs: South Arabian Landing [SAL], wall-case 1 [WC1]
- Complete; clay core inside and within the foot-ring is slightly friable; bronze foot chipped at the front; hard green accretion over much of the metal surface
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Acquired by donor in Sanaa in 1942; collection offered on the advice of Mrs Bradley of Tunbridge Wells Museum when described as "an incense burner with an ibex; a metal wedding lantern, several brass objects made by the Jews in San'a, some with the fish motif in decoration. There are also some stone figures, one with Himyaritic letters on the head and two other pieces with lettering" (ME Corres, dated 26 October 1960); this collection was deposited on 8/11/60, item 1381, when itemised as "5 coins [refused by John Walker of the Coins & Medals dept and later sent to Seaby, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 24/8/64], 9 stone South Arabian objects [2 heads, 1 gutter = 132910-12], 1 flint, 1 bze plaque, 1 bze altar , 3 strings [of] beads, 3 bze bells , 2 brass jugs, [and] 1 bze wedding lantern [last three sent to OA 11/11/60]" [remainder of this collection, i.e. 6 stone objects, bze plaque & flint to Forgeries Collection on Keeper's instruction].
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number