Syro-Anatolian Basalt Bearded Male Idol
Period: Late Bronze Age - Early Iron Age (Second Half of the 2nd Millennium B.C.) (?)
Dimensions: Height: 9.7 cm
Price: CHF 20000
European art market, acquired in the1970s
The surface is worn, but the statuette is whole and well preserved
The surface is worn, but the statuette is whole and well preserved. It was carved from a vaguely elliptical basalt pebble; two stumps indicate the shoulders and the arms while a deep incision separates the legs. A round bump represents the head while the eyes (two incised points) and the mouth (a slightly arched line) are the only anatomical elements that the sculptor expressly indicated. A triangular beard, truncated at its end, shows without ambiguity that the figure is a man. The back is smooth and without any details.
This figurine does not have a precise parallel: the most closely related objects in terms of the material used and the morphology are small basalt figurines found in Alalakh (an area located in eastern Anatolia and northern Syria), which come from the layers dated to the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C. They are probably very lively tokens of the popular “devotionals” (an image of a deity, a funerary statuette, an ex-voto for a sanctuary, etc.) which, thanks to its thickness and to its undulating outline, fits perfectly in the palm of the hand.
WOOLLEY L., Alalakh, An Account of the Excavations at Tell Atchana in the Hatay, 1937-1949, Oxford, 1955, pl. 44.