This outstanding ceramic sculpture is a votive figure from the middle of the first millennium BC, and represents a deity in the Phoenician pantheon. It is unusually large, detailed and well-preserved. It shows a male figure standing upon a tall, tiered pedestal base, decorated with a double ring at the bottom and another single at the top. The figure is unusually tall, wearing a tunic-like garment covered with a long, flowing robe that reaches to the feet and is gathered over the left wrist. The detailing of the textile is good. The pose is relaxed, even casual, with the weight taken on the left leg and the right bent at the knee as is strolling. The face is strongly-modelled and well-preserved, with high brows, pointed-oval eyes, a long nose and a gentle smile. The coiffure is unclear – it may be gathered back, or covered by the upper end of the robe. The right hand is truncated in the mid forearm, but it is likely that he was originally holding it up in benediction (a not uncommon pose for pieces such as this). The piece is certainly formal, but it is also more fluid in terms of composition than is usual for these sculptures, which are contemporary with the Archaic Period Greek statues which the Phoenicians helped to inspire. The back of the piece is almost completely plain, implying that it was always meant to be viewed from the front rather than in the round, which is appropriate for figures destined for shrines. The piece retains some calcareous concretions from its long interment in the Mediterranean, and a large shell attached to the left foot.
Ancient Near East