Skip to content

Cart

Your cart is empty

SKU: MS2202

A good Palmyrene Limestone Portrait Head of a Youth
ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE

Sale price25,000 USD

This object qualifies for free and fast worldwide shipping.

From a funerary relief, this beautifully carved portrait head of a young man is characteristic of the prosperous caravan city of Palmyra during the first three centuries CE. Here, he models a full head of thick wavy locks brushed forward, a light mustache is depicted by straight incised lines above contoured bow-shaped lips that offer a slight smile. In symmetrical proportions to the oval face, his small nose is straight, while his ears, protruding from his hair just a little, end in fleshy lobes. His wide, almond-shaped eyes, emphasized by incised irises, and below softly arching brows, present an elegant and delicate composition, making the eyes as a whole one of the most outstanding features of this piece.

By the mid-first century A.D., Palmyra — or "place of the palms"—was a wealthy and impressive city located along the caravan routes that linked the Parthian Near East with Roman-controlled Mediterranean ports. During the period of great prosperity that followed, rivaling even Antioch, the citizens of Palmyra adopted customs and modes of dress from both the Iranian Parthian world to the east and the Greco-Roman west. This blend of eastern and western elements is also present in Palmyrene art, presenting a rich range of iconographic information about these ancient people. In this sculpture, the care lavished on details of face and hair recalls the Parthian approach to figural representation that makes direct eye contact with the viewer.

Condition: Some scattered areas of encrustation, with minor restoration to the nose, and a few expected scattered edge chips that do not detract, otherwise the sculpture is intact, and in excellent condition overall. Custom mounted. A lovely example.

Dimensions: Height: 9 inches (22.5 cm), Mounted height: 14 inches (35.5 cm)

Provenance: Private New York City collection, acquired from the trade in the early 2000s.
A good Palmyrene Limestone Portrait Head of a Youth<br><em>ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE</em>
A good Palmyrene Limestone Portrait Head of a Youth
ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
Sale price25,000 USD