[Ancientartifacts] Re: Re: Bronze idol

    Date: Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:21 pm ((PDT)) Andrea wrote :

Hello, mine

is broken...but I think the brokerage is modern...not
ancient...because the patina is continuos..!

Tis is surely bronze bird node idol, Baal.

This appears to be genuine, but I doubt it is an Idol.  There are a number of possibilities for it's use, but the one I fine most likely is a cosmetics applicator missing it's lower most portion.

There is a bit of a range in the decorations that can be on the top of these, but to understand what they are and how they were used, see the following reference for one with the cosmetics jar it fits into :

LADDERS TO HEAVEN (art treasures of the lands of the bible) edited by Oscar White Muscarella and published by McClelland and Stewart for the Royal Ontario Museum, 1981.


The example they show has an horned demon head, which they date to Mesopotamia or Iran 3rd to first half of the 2nd millennium BC, consistent with the style of your object.

The reason I suspect it might be one of these cosmetics applicators is the way it narrows just before the bottom, in exactly the place it should to fit into the cosmetics jar.  But it would mean there is about 3 to 4 inches missing below that narrowing.

The example that posted that started this, I have serious reservations about it's authenticity for several reasons. 

1) I can find no parallel to it in any reference I have available to me.  That is not by any means enough to condemn it, as while I have a good libary I do not have every reference, but does raise concerns for me.  There is a very good discussion of the "bird headed" idols in the reference above and it makes no reference to bronze examples existing. 

2) I believe I see evidence of mold line removal marks down the sides, with the mold marks being cleaned up after casting.  If that is what is visible on the actual object, it is very un-likely it was made in the period in which it would have to date.

3) The body form and arms imitates the idols found in northern Syria around 1900 to 1750 BC (see the reference above, page 236 images #204 and 207).  The look of the metal and the way the patination formed is inconsistent with items of that period.  They were of a less stable bronze and tend to have much rougher surfaces like those on the figure that Andrea posted.

3) The bottom 2/3 of the figure is clearly female (hips and groin area).  But the head has a beard, military style helmet with neck protector, and so is the head is of a male warrior figure.  This mix of male (remember it has a beard) and female on one figure makes not sense to me relative to the period it comes from.

4) When viewed from the side, the jugging head is very clumsy.  Figures of this period may be crude or a little primitive (again by our standards) but they are never clumsy.

In my opinion, it is probably of relative modern manufacture.  Certainly no older than a grand tour object of the 18th or 19th century, and more likely more modern than that.

Robert Kokotailo


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