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Identification and Creation
Object Number
1933.124
Title
Male Votive Statuette
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
statuette, sculpture
Date
late 5th-2nd century BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Hispania
Period
Iron Age
Culture
Iberian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/310838
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bronze
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
7.7 cm (3 1/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, nickel, silver, antimony

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is green with spots of light green and brown burial accretions. The figure is slightly eroded and pitted, especially in the light green areas. There are small holes overall that are porosity flaws in the casting. The object is a solid cast, probably from a model made by working directly in wax that included most of the details. The fingers, mouth, and eyes may have been enhanced by cold working.


Henry Lie (submitted 2011)

Provenance
National Archaeological Museum of Spain, (by 1933), by exchange; to the Fogg Art Museum.

Excavated at the sanctuary site of Collado de los Jardines, Jaén, in the early 1900s.

Note: In exchange for a Sepulchral slab from the Cemetery at Sahagun, Leon, Spain.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of The Republic of Spain through the Museo Arqueologico Nacional and Professor A. Kingsley Porter
Accession Year
1933
Object Number
1933.124
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
This male statuette stands frontally, wearing a helmet and a long, unbelted V-neck tunic (1). The helmet, modeled all the way around, has a neck guard but no cheek pieces. The nose is wide; the large, closed eyes are incised, as is the short line indicating the mouth. The neck is round and proportionate. The limbs of the figure are not separated from the body. He stands with his left arm and hand pressed against his side and hip; the arm is disproportionately long, and its fingers are cursorily indicated with incised lines. The upper right arm is pressed against his side and bent at the elbow, with the forearm and hand held against his stomach. Shallow incised lines indicate the arm and edges of the tunic. The long tunic wraps in the front, creating the V-neck, but is otherwise undetailed. The garment’s hem is visible above the figure’s feet, which are separated by a deep groove. There are no features on the back except for the details of the helmet, hem, and feet.

Thousands of small, anthropomorphic copper alloy statuettes and anatomical votives have been recovered from remote sanctuary sites in south-central Spain, particularly Collado de los Jardines and Castellar de Santisteban, but it is not certain to which god or gods they were dedicated (2). Many of the statuettes depict individuals, some of whom are represented in poses of prayer or offering (3). Some are very abstract and schematically rendered, while others wear identifiable contemporary clothing (4). In spite of the similarity of the votives, there is nothing to indicate that the intention behind each offering was the same. This example is most likely from the cave sanctuary of Collado de los Jardines near Santa Elena, Jaén. It was given to Harvard in 1933 by the Republic of Spain in exchange for the cover of the eleventh-century sarcophagus of Alfonso Ansúrez from Sahagún, León, which was then in the collection of the Fogg Art Museum (5).

NOTES:

1. This figure is similar to L. Prados Torreira, Exvotos ibericos de bronce del Museo Arqueologico Nacional (Madrid, 1992) 192, nos. 236-38. Compare also R. Lantier, Bronzes votifs ibériques (Paris, 1935) nos. 69-70, pl. 8.

2. See F. Álvarez-Ossorio, Bronces ibéricos o hispánicos del Museo Arqueológico Nacional (Madrid, 1935) 20-27; id., Catálogo de los exvotos de bronce ibéricos (Madrid, 1941); L. Prados Torreira, “Los exvotos anatomicos del santuario iberico de Collado de los Jardines (Sta. Elena, Jaén),” Trabajos de prehistoria 48 (1991): 313-32; ead. 1992 (supra 1); ead., “Los santuarios ibéricos: Apuntes para el desarrollo de una arqueología del culto,” Trabajos de prehistoria 51.1 (1994): 127-40; and G. Nicolini et al., El santuario ibérico de Castellar, Jaén: Intervenciones arqueológicas 1966-1991 (Seville, 2004) 160-64.

3. For discussions of the statuettes’ poses and gestures, see G. Nicolini, “Gestes et attitudes cultuels des figurines de bronze ibériques,” Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez 4 (1968): 27-50; and C. Rueda Galán, “La mujer sacralizada: La presencia de las mujeres en los santuarios (lectura desde los exvotos de bronce iberos),” Complutum 18 (2007): 227-35.

4. See, for example, 1933.134.

5. See “Collections and Critiques,” The Harvard Crimson, Dec. 12, 1935; and Á. Franco, “Arte medieval leonés fuera de España,” in La dispersión de objetos de arte fuera de España en los siglos XIX y XX, eds. F. Pérez Mulet and I. Socias Batet (Barcelona, 2011) 93-132, esp. 113-16.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

"Collections and Critiques", The Harvard Crimson, Dec. 12, 1935

Francisco Alvarez-Ossorio, Catalogo de los exvotos de bronce, ibericos, Museo Arqueologico Nacional (Madrid, 1941), cat. no. 432, inv. no. 29034, pl. 61.

Lourdes Prados Torreira, "La coleccion de bronces ibericos del Peabody Museum de Harvard", Bronces y Religion Romana: Actas del XI Congreso Internacional de Bronces Antiguos, Madrid, Mayo-Junio 1990, ed. J. Arce and F. Burkhalter, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Madrid, 1993), 361-67, p. 364, no. 12, fig. 2.

Robert H. Tykot, Lourdes Prados Torreira, and Miriam S. Balmuth, "Iberian bronze figurines: technological and stylistic analysis", From the Parts to the Whole: Acta of the 13th International Bronze Congress, ed. Carol C. Mattusch, Amy Brauer, and Sandra E. Knudsen, Journal of Roman Archaeology (Portsmouth, RI, 2000), vol. 2, p. 27-30, no. 121, fig. 2.

Ángela Franco, "Arte medieval leonés fuera de España", La dispersión de objetos de arte fuera de España en los siglos XIX y XX, ed. Fernando Pérez Mulet and Immaculada Socias Batet, Edicions Universitat Barcelona (Barcelona, 2011), 93-132, p. 115 n.64.

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