About this object

Standing male statue lacking only its right hand and forearm with a chip to the nose. Across the front of the base in clear, sharp letters is incised ancient Arabian text reading "Ab'alay, he of (the clan) Dharih-il". Qataban was one of the ancient Yemeni kingdoms.. A number of sculptures like this were discovered in the cemetery at Timna, capital of ancient Qataban. They were probably funerary monuments.

The spice trade brought the people of South Arabia into regular contact with the land to the north. Frankincense and myrrh, the two main perfume-resins of the ancient world, occur naturally in south Arabia. The trading caravans took these and other spices north, forming the basis of a prosperous urban civilisation. From the 10th century BC, the kingdoms of Saba (Biblical ‘Sheba’), Himyar and Qataban were famous for their great wealth. The people of South Arabia learnt an alphabet from their northern contacts, and surviving inscriptions show that many local dialects developed.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Asia: Western Asia: Yemen
  • Date made
    100 BC - 1 BC about
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Puchased from Sotheby & Co Auction House
  • Collector
  • Place collected
    Asia: Western Asia: Yemen
  • Date collected
    1965 before
  • Measurements
    540 mm x 215 mm x 17 mm; 21 1/4 in x 8 7/16 in x 11/16 in
  • Related people
    Sotheby's ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Sotheby's

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1965
    Disposal method: Sold
Object view = Humanities
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