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Palmyrene Limestone Bust of a Youthful Priest

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Palmyrene Limestone Bust of a Youthful Priest
Item Details
Description
Near East / Holy Land, Palmyra, Roman period, ca. 2nd to 3rd century CE. Wow! A stunning, naturalistic limestone head of a priest wearing a characteristically cylindrical headdress, known as a modius, encircled by a relief wreath with a miniature bust at the front. The ancient visage is remarkably lifelike, gazing forward from a pair of huge, heavy-lidded eyes with incised pupils beneath a finely-lined brow. His straight nose displays a narrow nasal bridge and sits just above a set of bowed lips, which gently turn up at the corners in a petite smile, and a clefted chin. Though his eyes are slightly sunken, the full, fleshiness of his cheeks suggest that he may be of a younger age. The rough verso indicates that this head was previously part of a relief, and the evidence of chisel markings on the cheeks and nose signify that it may not have been finished. Size: 6.9" W x 10.3" H (17.5 cm x 26.2 cm); 16.1" H (40.9 cm) on included custom stand.

Note the remains of a bust atop his headdress. Scholars posit that these armless busts that adorn the wreaths of priests functioned as symbols of the priest's rank, as a badge of clan membership, or to express connections to some ancestral cults. The limestone is beautifully marbled and crystallized, with a creamy, almost uniform color.

Palmyra was a wealthy city that linked the caravan routes from the Parthian Near East with the Roman Mediterranean; the people who lived there during this period largely enjoyed prosperity and were able to adopt eastern and western customs, clothing, and artistic styles, creating a distinctive visual culture unique to the city. We know of this culture today from the large funerary monuments that the Palmyrene people built - tower-shaped vaults whose interiors were lined with sculpted limestone reliefs depicting the deceased.

Provenance: private East Coast collection, New York, USA; ex-East Coast collection, New York Gallery, New York City, New York, USA, acquired before 2010

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#159165
Condition
Fragment of a larger piece. Losses to top of headdress and head of bust on headdress, as well as some nicks, chips, and abrasions throughout, all commensurate with age.
Buyer's Premium
  • 26.5%

Palmyrene Limestone Bust of a Youthful Priest

Estimate $7,500 - $10,000
Aug 11, 2022
See Sold Price
Starting Price $4,500
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Artemis Gallery

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0018: Palmyrene Limestone Bust of a Youthful Priest

Lot Passed
0 Bids
Est. $7,500 - $10,000Starting Price $4,500
Beauty & Beasts: Ancient, Ethno, Fine Art
Aug 11, 2022 10:00 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 26.5%

Lot 0018 Details

Description
...
Near East / Holy Land, Palmyra, Roman period, ca. 2nd to 3rd century CE. Wow! A stunning, naturalistic limestone head of a priest wearing a characteristically cylindrical headdress, known as a modius, encircled by a relief wreath with a miniature bust at the front. The ancient visage is remarkably lifelike, gazing forward from a pair of huge, heavy-lidded eyes with incised pupils beneath a finely-lined brow. His straight nose displays a narrow nasal bridge and sits just above a set of bowed lips, which gently turn up at the corners in a petite smile, and a clefted chin. Though his eyes are slightly sunken, the full, fleshiness of his cheeks suggest that he may be of a younger age. The rough verso indicates that this head was previously part of a relief, and the evidence of chisel markings on the cheeks and nose signify that it may not have been finished. Size: 6.9" W x 10.3" H (17.5 cm x 26.2 cm); 16.1" H (40.9 cm) on included custom stand.

Note the remains of a bust atop his headdress. Scholars posit that these armless busts that adorn the wreaths of priests functioned as symbols of the priest's rank, as a badge of clan membership, or to express connections to some ancestral cults. The limestone is beautifully marbled and crystallized, with a creamy, almost uniform color.

Palmyra was a wealthy city that linked the caravan routes from the Parthian Near East with the Roman Mediterranean; the people who lived there during this period largely enjoyed prosperity and were able to adopt eastern and western customs, clothing, and artistic styles, creating a distinctive visual culture unique to the city. We know of this culture today from the large funerary monuments that the Palmyrene people built - tower-shaped vaults whose interiors were lined with sculpted limestone reliefs depicting the deceased.

Provenance: private East Coast collection, New York, USA; ex-East Coast collection, New York Gallery, New York City, New York, USA, acquired before 2010

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#159165
Condition
...
Fragment of a larger piece. Losses to top of headdress and head of bust on headdress, as well as some nicks, chips, and abrasions throughout, all commensurate with age.

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