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statuette

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    132932

  • Description

    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.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2ndC
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 7.1 centimetres
    • Length: 6.3 centimetres
    • Thickness: 1.8 centimetres
    • Weight: 132.3 grammes
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Ancient South Arabian
      • Inscription Language

        Sabaic
      • Inscription Comment

        Dedicatory; four lines on either side, cast as surface dendrites are present in the hollows of the inscription and on the body.
  • 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cast rather than added later, as similar surface dendrites are present in the deeper portions of the inscription.1 1 Unpublished report (Department of Scientific Research, The British Museum).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.bCorrespondence 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
    Bronze
    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.

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  • Bibliography

    • Curtis & Tallis 2012 185 bibliographic details
    • Branca 2000a 208 bibliographic details
    • Seipel 1998a 220 bibliographic details
    • Simpson 2002a p. 174, cat.223 bibliographic details
    • Simpson 2004a p. 85 bibliographic details
    • Philby H StJ B 1981a p.113 bibliographic details
    • Robin & Vogt 1997a p.129 bibliographic details
    • Chiesa B et al 1994a p.154, fig.83 bibliographic details
    • Avanzini et al 2009 p.68, fig.1 (identified as a colt) bibliographic details
    • Gribaudo 2000a p.80 bibliographic details
    • Barnett 1964b p.87, pl.XLIII.b bibliographic details
    • Antonini 2007a pp. 173 (I.B.b.4) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    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]

  • Condition

    Complete; minor blow-holes on the surface arising from the casting

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1961

  • 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.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    132932

  • Registration number

    1961,1016.1

Copper alloy bull statuette; head lowered; elaborately modelled series of six folds of skin around the neck, with four more folds above the eyes; modelled phallus and genitalia; faint Sabaean inscription along the right side of the body; eyes originally inlaid; cast on a clay core hence its relatively heavy weight; stands on pedestal.

Copper alloy bull statuette; head lowered; elaborately modelled series of six folds of skin around the neck, with four more folds above the eyes; modelled phallus and genitalia; faint Sabaean inscription along the right side of the body; eyes originally inlaid; cast on a clay core hence its relatively heavy weight; stands on pedestal.

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Object reference number: WCO25175

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