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Ancient Nabataean Bronze Votive Figure of Female

Ancient Near East, northern Arabia / southern Levant, Nabataean people, ca. 1st century CE. A bronze female figurine, petite in form, standing atop a pair of delineated legs. Constricted shoulders lead downward to one outstretched arm which holds the remnants of an unidentifiable object, and a pair of nubbin bulbs rest in the center of her chest. Her timeless visage is composed of recessed almond-shaped eyes, a prominent nose, diminutive ears, and thin lips, all beneath a simple hat. Noteworthy to this piece are the dozens of Aramaic letters etched into both sides of the torso. This ancient script indicates that she was likely a votive offering bearer or perhaps a priestess. Scattered areas of light-green patina nicely complement the chocolate-hued patina, with areas of russet patina along the verso. Enigmatic and exceptionally rare, this is a fantastic figurine from the ancient Near East! Custom lucite display stand included. Size: 2.625" H (6.7 cm); 4.75" H (12.1 cm) on included custom stand.

The Nabataean kingdom controlled a string of oases that linked trade between southern Arabia (where many forms of incense required for religious worship were created) and the Greco-Roman world, and flourished throughout most of the 1st century CE. The Nabataean sphere of influence extended far into the Arabian Peninsula towards Yemen along the Red Sea. Its capital of Ragmu (present-day Petra) was one of the largest and most highly-frequented cosmopolitan marketplaces in the Near East, though it was only one in a string of Nabataean settlements strung out in an area with very limited resources.

Condition: Losses to one arm, held offering, both feet, small area of top of head, and portion of verso. Repaired at midsection with light adhesive residue along break line. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, fading to facial features and inscribed writing, with some discoloration, otherwise excellent. Light earthen deposits within recessed areas, and nice green, brown, and russet patina throughout.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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