Lot 2441: Western Asiatic South Arabian Inscribed Fragment
December 9, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 2nd century BC-2nd century AD. A rectangular limestone block fragment with four incised characters to one flat face. 2.1 kg, 20cm (8"). From a German, Cologne, collection; acquired in the 1970s. South Arabian sculpture associated with palaces and domestic settings often reflects a strong Graeco-Roman influence. In contrast, ancestral images, funerary portraits and votive dedications exhibit a distinct style that is characteristically local. The flat surfaces to the rear of these stele suggest that they were installed against walls and were most likely memorial plaques in honour of the dead. Relief plaques such as these are known from the upland areas of the Marib, the ancient centre of the Sabaean Empire. This area contains numerous stone ruins dating from between the first millennium BC into the early first millennium AD, a period when the region was enriched by the burgeoning Roman demand for spices that linked southern Arabia to Ethiopia and the cultures of the Indian Ocean in a complex trade network. [No Reserve]
Condition Report: Fair condition.