Bronze; H. 10 7/8 in. (27.6 cm)
Gift of Dr. Sidney A. Charlat, in memory of his parents, Newman and Adele Charlat, 1949 (49.71.2)
This bronze incense burner from southwestern Arabia consists of a cylindrical container set on a conical base. Seven spikes extend upward from a high front panel that resembles an architectural facade and bears a depiction in relief of two snakes flanking a round disk set within a crescent. The disk-and-crescent motif appears often on South Arabian votive plaques and censers. An ibex, separately cast and identifiable by its ridged horns, stands on a plinth that projects from the censer's front. The ibex serves as a handle for the censer and perhaps had cultic significance; both the ibex and the snake are frequently associated with South Arabian deities. The serpent, which had apotropaic powers, has been identified with the national god of the Macin kingdom, while the ibex may represent the god of the Sabaeans.