This imposing ceramic sculpture is a votive figure from the middle of the first millennium BC, and represents a deity in the Phoenician pantheon. Unusually – for the Phoenicians depicted more goddesses than gods – it represents a male figure, standing on a square, integrated pedestal base, resting his weight on his right leg in a somewhat casual manner, his left leg bent and flexed forward. He is wearing a long robe-like garment that runs over both shoulders down to the ground, and concealing a further piece of clothing (possibly a tunic). His right hand is raised in what is considered to be benediction, his left tucked into his hip. The head appears to be covered with a textile cap or an extrusion of the robe. The facial features are slightly rubbed, adding a powerful monolithic quality to the piece. The pose of the personage is characteristic of Phoenician art, and also that of the Archaic period in Greece, which it helped 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 has attracted some calcareous encrustation from its long immersion in the Mediterranean.
Ancient Near East