Anatolian Marble Annular Idol
Near Eastern · 5th-4th millennium B.C.
H: 43 cm
The piece, carved from a beautiful coarse-grained white marble, is whole but reassembled.
It is mostly exceptional for its size, which currently does not have any parallels. It is composed of two elements: a large circular ring topped by an elliptical projection with two holes. It is necessary to bring attention to the difficulty of sculpting an object of such large size. During this period when metallurgy was still in its early stages, stone objects were carved and modeled using only obsidian or emery: the evenness and the structural balance of this piece make it even more valuable.
Similarly shaped pieces are well-known on the Greek continent, in the Balkans and in Western Anatolia, but their size never exceeds 10 cm: they were manufactured in various materials (stone, gold, silver, terracotta) and persisted during the 5th and the 4th millennium. According to certain archaeologists, these “idols” symbolize a very stylized human figure, but this hypothesis is far from unanimous.
Art market, prior to 1980s;
Ex-private European collection acquired in the early 1980s.
Published: Marble, Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2009, p.10.
Exhibited: Marble, Gagosian Gallery, New York, February 12th – June 10th 2009.
Ancient Gold, The Wealth of the Thracians, New York, 1998, n. 161, p. 213.
HODDINOTT, The Thracians, London, 1981, pp. 14-21.
PAPATHANASSOPOULOS G. (éd.), Neolithic Culture in Greece, Athens, 1996, pp. 338-340, n. 298-302.
Woman in Anatolia, 9000 Years of the Anatolian Woman, Istanbul, 1993, p. 83, n. A102.