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Identification and Creation
Object Number
1943.1120
Title
Striding Male Holding a Vessel
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Male Figure
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
statuette, sculpture
Date
2nd Millennium BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Syria
Period
Bronze Age
Culture
Levantine
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/303840
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bronze
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
13.8 x 2.6 x 3 cm (5 7/16 x 1 x 1 3/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 95.25; Sn, 3.58; Pb, 0.15; Zn, 0.008; Fe, 0.51; Ni, 0.06; Ag, 0.03; Sb, less than 0.05; As, 0.41; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.012; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001

J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is dark green and brown with spots of red. Brown burial accretions are also present. The surface is well preserved. The right hand appears to be lost, and the surface at the loss is old and worn and probably pre-dates burial.

The soft and imprecise shapes indicate the solid-cast figure was made from a model formed directly in the wax. Cast grooves up to 2 mm deep are located at the back of the head and legs, at the sides of the arms, and at the right side of the body. These do not appear decorative in and of themselves but could have been used to secure a cladding of a secondary metal. The deep and crudely textured eye sockets might also have contained secondary decorative elements. No remains of added material are visible under magnification.


Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

Provenance
Grenville L. Winthrop, New York, NY, (by 1943), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
1943
Object Number
1943.1120
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
The striding figure with a tall, conical headdress and double torc around the neck may represent a deity. The body is modeled in the round with some attention given to musculature, particularly in the lower legs. He wears a knee-length kilt that extends slightly longer in the back than the front; the vertical fringed edge of the kilt is indicated by simple hatched marks along the proper left thigh. With the left foot advancing forward, the figurine stands securely on an irregularly shaped trapezoidal plate. A large looped peg extends below the base (1). Long grooves from the top of the cap, between the shoulder blades, and along the upper arms and right side indicate that metal leaf originally covered the figure. The large head sits on a long neck and tilts slightly to the proper right. An angular nose, excised eye sockets, and semicircular ears distinguish the face. Both arms extend out in front of the body and bend slightly at the elbow. The left hand holds a goblet-shaped vessel, while the right arm, missing its hand, is raised marginally higher. It was perhaps held in a gesture of benediction that is often seen in bronzes of this period, where the right hand is held open with palm outward. This gesture is more common in seated figures, but also can be found in standing and striding figures (2).

A stylistic comparison may be made with a seated bronze figure, identified by O. Negbi as a female, which holds a bowl in her right hand (3). Classified as part of a Syro-Lebanese group dating to the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries BCE, this piece displays a similar facial profile in which the juncture between the conical headdress and the forehead is marked by a carefully incised line (4). The presence of torcs may suggest a date earlier in the second millennium when torcs appear archaeologically as well as in representations (5).

NOTES:

1. G. M. A. Hanfmann and P. Hansen, “Hittite Bronzes and Other Near Eastern Figurines in the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University,” Türk Arkeoloji Dergisi 6.2 (1956): 43-58, esp. 44, fig. 13.a.

2. For seated examples, see O. Negbi, Canaanite Gods in Metal: An Archaeological Study of Ancient Syro-Palestinian Figurines (Tel Aviv, 1976) nos. 1438, 1441, 1443, 1446, 1451, 1470, 1473, 1478, and 1480, figs. 54-56 and 63-65, pls. 32-34.

3. Negbi 1976 (supra 2) 92-93, no. 1652, fig. 104, pl. 51 (unknown provenience, said to come from Lebanon).

4. Of the four pieces assigned to this group, only two have known proveniences: Byblos in Lebanon and Mishrifé in the Orontes River Valley of Syria; see ibid., 93-94.

5. Hanfmann and Hansen 1956 (supra 1) 46. For Middle Bronze Age burials from Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) that include torcs, see C. F.-A. Schaeffer, “Porteurs de torques,” in Ugaritica 2, Mission de Ras Shamra 5; Institut Francais d’Archéologie de Beyrouth Bibliothèque Archéologique et Historique 47 (Paris, 1949) 49-120.


Marian Feldman

Publication History

George M. A. Hanfmann and Donald P. Hansen, "Hittite Bronzes and Other Near Eastern Figurines in the Fogg Art Museum", Türk Arkeoloji Dergisi (1956), Vol. 6, No. 2, 41-58, pp. 44-46, no. 1, figs. 1, 2, and 12a.

Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), p. 256 (checklist).

Séan Hemingway, "The Age of Bronze in Greece, Cyprus, and the Near East", Ancient Bronzes through a Modern Lens: Introductory Essays on the Study of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes, ed. Susanne Ebbinghaus, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2014), 20-37, pp. 32-33, fig. 1.7.

Susanne Ebbinghaus, ed., Ancient Bronzes through a Modern Lens: Introductory Essays on the Study of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes, Harvard Art Museum/Yale University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2014), pp. 32-33, fig. 1.7

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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