Lot 786: Anatolian Violin Idol
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 2nd millennium BC. A flat-section alabaster idol with D-shaped body and scooped neck; mounted on a custom-made stand. For a similar Violin Idol see The Dallas Museum of Art, accession number 1982.311.FA. 245 grams, 22cm including stand (8 1/2"). Property of a London gentleman; acquired London art market, 1970-1980. The outline in the shape of a violin, typical of these idols also known as schematic, probably represents the silhouette of a seated human body, the legs folded on a flat surface, without any volume. Two small pointed or rounded stumps indicate the arms, while a long stalk represents the neck. Sometimes the circular head is equipped with a point carved on the side of the head, probably indicating a lock or a tuft of hair. Typologically, these idols can be classified as part of the Beycesultan-Kusura group named after two excavation sites located in Anatolia. Their exact meaning remains mysterious, but they are generally thought to have been related to the sphere of reproduction and fertility of nature or to the beliefs in the afterlife. A culture related to that of the Cyclades existed in Anatolia from the beginning of the Early Bronze Age, if not earlier. A preference for highly schematic and reductive figurines, predominantly female, is common to both. These female figurines represent mother goddesses and their simplicity can be traced back to the Neolithic Age. In Anatolia, this style of figure continued, with regional variations, long after neighbouring Mediterranean cultures adopted more naturalistic or elaborate styles.
Condition Report: Fine condition.