- Museum number
Low-tin bronze statuette of an ass; lost-wax cast; inscription of four lines in South Arabian script on either side; minor blow-holes arising from the casting.
- Production date
Height: 7.10 centimetres
Length: 6.30 centimetres
Weight: 132.30 grammes
Thickness: 1.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
This beautifully modelled statuette was cast using the lost-wax process (illustrated by Barnett 1963/4, 87, pl. XLIIIb; Philby 1981, 113; Chiesa et al. 1994, 154, fig. 83). It is inscribed with a four-line inscription which has yet to be translated and published. Examination within the Department of Scientific Research indicates that this object was cast from a low tin-bronze with little subsequent tooling, as is evidenced by the 'flash' of metal between the forelegs; the inscription also appears to have been cast rather than added later, as similar surface dendrites are present in the deeper portions of the inscription.1
1 Unpublished report (Department of Scientific Research, The British Museum).
Barnett, R. D., 1963/4. "A review of acquisitions 1955-62 of Western Asiatic Antiquities (II)", 'British Museum Quarterly' 79-88, pls XXIX-XLIV.
Philby, H. St J. B., 1981. 'The Queen of Sheba', London: Quartet Books.
British Museum Quarterly XXVII, p 87, Pl XLIII.b
Correspondence from M. Maraqten, based on b/w photographs (January 2004): "it is a dedicatory inscription, I could read X son of X has dedicated. But is not clear yet the name of the deity and the object of dedication, which can be expected the ass itself and then the reason and may an invocation".
This object was examined in the Department of Scientific Research prior to acquisition: undated report by A. E. Werner and Robert Organ on file. It was reported to Trustees as 1st-2nd century AD in date.
Bowers Catalogue entry:
Ass or donkey with dedicatory inscription
Possibly 2nd century AD
Height 7.1, l 6.3 cm, width 1.8 cm; 132.5 g weight
ANE 1961-10-16,1 = 132932
Purchased from Spink & Son Ltd
This beautifully modelled statuette was cast using the lost-wax process. It is inscribed with a 4-line inscription. Scientific examination indicates that this object was cast from a low tin-bronze with little subsequent tooling, as is evidenced by the “flash” of metal between the forelegs; the inscription also appears to have been cast rather than added later.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2017-2018 17 Jan-2 Jul, Basel, Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, 'Arabia Felix: Treasures from Ancient South Arabia'
2012 24 May - 30 Sep, London, BM, 'The horse: from Arabia to Royal Ascot'
2010 29 May-15 Oct, USA, Kentucky Horse Park, 'A Gift from the Desert'
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 2 [WC2]
- Complete; minor blow-holes on the surface arising from the casting
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- First reported as "said to have been found in South Arabia, and ... is fully inscribed", when sent in by Spink for identification of the inscription which was shown to Professor Honeyman (Corres. 4 May 1961), hence deposited by Spink on 5 May 1961 (WAA Deposit book, entry 1416), when described as "Bronze horse inscr. in S. Arabian"; further correspondence dated 6-7, 13, 17-18 July; acquisition reported to Trustees, 29 September 1961.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number