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SKU: EA2223

A Coptic Bone head of a Doll
ca. late 7th - 9th century CE

Sale price500 USD

This object qualifies for free USA shipping and a flat rate fee of $60 if shipping internationally.

A carved bone peg with incised large eyes and arched brows, the nose in slight relief with purse lips below, and ears that stick out to the sides, the base tapering to fit inside a cloth doll body.

At the end of the 7th century, these figures suddenly appear in Egypt and Palestine.  With the new Muslim empire bridging former Byzantine and Sassanian lands, these dolls found their way to Egypt and Palestine from the Near East, where they were reproduced in huge numbers, quickly gaining popularity through all levels of society in the 8th and 9th centuries. Interestingly, at the end of the 11th century, they disappeared just as quickly as they emerged, most probably due to stricter applications of Islamic laws banning figurative representations.

For related examples, see: Ariel Shatil, “Bone Figurines of the Early Islamic Period: The So Called ‘Coptic Dolls’ from Palestine and Egypt”, pp. 296-314 in: Selena Vitezović (ed.) Close to the Bone: Current Studies in Bone Technologies: Belgrade (2016), p. 302, pl. 5, no. 1.

Dimensions: Height: 2 1/8 inches (5.4 cm)

Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.

Provenance: The Hauge Collection of Ancient & Iranian Art, assembled between 1962 and 1966.  Foreign service brothers, Victor and Osborne Hauge, together with their wives Takako and Gratia, assembled their collection of Persian, Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian works of fine and folk art while stationed overseas with the US government after WWII.   In consultation with academics and dealers, the Hauges assembled over two decades of what former Freer Gallery of Art director Harold Stern described in 1957 as "without doubt one of the finest private collections in the world".   Victor and Takako published Folk Traditions in Japanese Art to coincide with a traveling exhibition held from 1978 at the Cleveland Museum of Art; Japan House Gallery, New York; and Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.  Much of their collection was donated to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute culminating in an exhibition and published catalogue in 2000. The balance of the collection, including this object, was inherited by descent in 2016.   

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A Coptic Bone head of a Doll <br><em>ca. late 7th - 9th century CE</em>
A Coptic Bone head of a Doll
ca. late 7th - 9th century CE
Sale price500 USD