Iberian Bronze Statuette of a worshipper
Period: 4th-3rd Century B.C.
Dimensions: H: 6.5 cm
Ex-Barbier-Müller Collection, Geneva, acquired in Paris from 1955 to 1963.
This solid cast figurine is practically intact; the surface of the bronze is covered with a beautiful, uniform patina of greenish brown color.
The statuette represents a very stylized female figure, which is reminiscent of a long and thin stick, fl ared on the upper part to resemble more closely a human torso. Despite the two small perpendicular feet, separated by an incision, the statue can not stand up by itself. Meant to be viewed from the front, this statuette, whose typology may be linked to the Korai of Archaic Greek sculpture, is a typical product of ancient Iberian cultures.
The face and arms, equipped with huge hands with incised fingers, are the only other visible anatomical details which emerge from the long and stiff dress that wraps the woman’s body entirely. On the head, she wears a large rounded mitre, covered with a veil, which frames a face in high-relief with features which are expressive yet simple and rough: the jaw is prominent, with a small horizontal mouth, the nose is large and aquiline, the forehead high and sloping. The left arm is folded and placed on the breast, while the right one is lowered on the belly. The principal Iberian sanctuaries have provided a large number of small bronzes, which range in size from 8 to 11 centimeters. These statuettes demonstrate both the piety of ancient Iberians and their taste for metal offerings. Representing both men (worshippers, horsemen, priests, judges?) and women (worshippers, priestesses?), these statuettes are classifi ed into three stylistic and chronological phases, the so-called Early Iberian, Middle Iberian and Late Iberian periods.
With its simple, geometric lines, our figurine is a beautiful example of the Middle Iberian type. Between the 5th and the 3rd century B.C., a noteworthy series of these ex-votos with their schematized and linear forms, were produced, which are not devoid of a certain charm to the eye of the modern viewer.
ZIMMERMANN J.-L., Art Antique dans les Collections du Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva, 1991, p. 71, n. 33.
Iberian Antiquities from the Collection of L. Levy and S. White, New York, 1993, pp. 46ff.
Les Ibères, Paris, 1997, pp. 146-147, pp. 331-334.
ROUILLARD P., Antiquité de l’Espagne (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1997, pp. 118ff.