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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2012.1.36
Title
Male Anthropomorphic Statuette
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture, statuette
Date
6th-4th century BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Period
Iron Age
Culture
Italic
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/178321
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Copper alloy
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
4.8 x 2 x 0.4 cm (1 7/8 x 13/16 x 3/16 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is green with areas of red and black. The figure is stable and solid cast, probably from a wax model. An abrasive, file-like tool was used heavily over much of the surface (prior to burial and any corrosion) to clean up the cast and neaten the edges. This figure is flatter and more crudely shaped than 2012.1.35. The eyes are punched and the mouth is cut abrasively. There are punched notches along the tops of the arms, but they do not give the impression of fingers. Two additional punch marks represent breasts.


Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

Provenance
The Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (before 1970-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
2012
Object Number
2012.1.36
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
More akin to the Umbrian examples of this schematic votive type, this statuette has vertical grooves on each arm denoting hands. Its legs taper to sharp points, and it displays the same angular file finishing as the female statuettes in the collection (1920.44.248 and 1992.256.90).

The facial features of this type of votive offering have a relatively uniform style: punched roundels for eyes, a raised ridge formed by the angular modeling of the head for a nose, and a simple incised groove for a mouth. Gender can be difficult to determine, as both male and female figures are depicted with nipples; the difference may be that “breasts” tend to be indicated by larger, punched roundels. Genitalia for the females are often an inverted triangle, while for the males there is a nearly circular knob of bronze, although sometimes it is flattened, making identification difficult. These statuettes also have a common stance with arms outstretched to the sides and legs parted in a V-shape. The open positioning of the arms is generally interpreted as a pose of prayer, consistent with that of other types of votive offerings found in tombs and sanctuary deposits (1). The Umbrian examples of this type of votive are cast and file finished; 1,600 of them were found in a pit deposit at a mountain sanctuary at the top of Monte Acuto, Italy (2). A similar sanctuary context for the five figurines in the Harvard collection may also be assumed. Small, lightweight, and flattened in form, they would have been easy to produce and may have been made near cult shrines to catch the trade of visiting pilgrims.

NOTES:

1. For comparison, see 1979.403.

2. Compare L. Bonfante and F. Roncalli, eds., Antichita dall’Umbria a New York, exh. cat. (Perugia, 1991) 213-20, nos. 4.15-4.31, for a general discussion of these anthropomorphic figurines. See also C. Cagianelli, Bronzi a figura umana, Museo gregoriano etrusco 5 (Vatican City, 1999) 241-53, nos. 45-90, which are described as the “Esquiline” group, comparable to 1920.44.116.1, 1920.44.248, 1992.256.90, and 2012.1.36. For 2012.1.35, compare ibid., 254-60, nos. 91-114, described as the “Aemilia” group.


Aimée F. Scorziello

Publication History

John Crawford, Sidney Goldstein, George M. A. Hanfmann, John Kroll, Judith Lerner, Miranda Marvin, Charlotte Moore, and Duane Roller, Objects of Ancient Daily Life. A Catalogue of the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection Belonging to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, ed. Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), M166, p. 203 [J. S. Crawford]

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu