The South Arabian kingdoms developed a unique school of funerary sculpture based on formal, geometric principles and influenced by the Greco-Roman world and a local cult of ancestor worship. The large eyes of this woman were once inlaid with dark limestone or blue lapis lazuli, and the roughly carved hair was covered by a plaster wig. As a funerary portrait, it might have adorned a burial chamber or the niche of a temple sanctuary as a votive offering.
Artist South Arabian, Arabian
  • Female Head from a Funerary Monument
Date between 100 BCE and 100 CE
Medium Alabaster
Dimensions Overall: 11 3/8 × 5 1/4 × 5 3/4 inches (28.9 × 13.3 × 14.6 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, and funds from the Antiquaries
Accession Number 1992.210
Department Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View Ancient Middle East Gallery, Level 1 (see map)
Reportedly from Cemetary of Timna, Kingdom of Qataban.
(Hadji Baba Ancient Art, London, England);
1992-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
SOTHEBY'S ANTIQUITIES AND ISLAMIC ART. Sales cat., June 20, 1990 no. 109, (ill.) Andre Emmerich gallery, N.Y. 1960, Collection Major M.D. Van Lessen, London. [Reportedly from Haid bin'Aqil, necropolis of Timna.]

Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 100 (ill.).