Funerary relief

Not on view

1 ‘Akiba,
2 son of ‘Ate’akab,
3 (son of) Gaddaia.
4 Alas!

1 ʿqybʾ
2 br ʿtʿqb
3 gdyʾ
4 ḥbl

This relief is a type of funerary monument characteristic of the prosperous caravan city of Palmyra during the first three centuries A.D. Reliefs with a representation of the deceased and a short identifying inscription were used to seal burial niches in elaborately decorated communal tombs; those with a half-length or bust format became prevalent sometime after A.D. 65.

Shown here is the upper body of a bearded man dressed in a Greek cloak known as a himation, worn over a chiton, or tunic, and wrapped around the right arm like a sling. He holds a small object, probably a schedula (book roll), in his left hand, and wears a ring on the little finger of that hand. The background of the relief is blank except for an inscription in Palmyrene Aramaic to the right of his head giving his name and his father and grandfather’s names, ending with an expression of sorrow common on funerary reliefs at Palmyra. His eyelids are carefully outlined and the pupil and iris indicated by a solid drilled circle inside a larger incised one. The large eyes and the modeled ridge indicating the eyebrows emphasize the intensity of his gaze, directed far beyond the viewer. The man’s hair is represented by a row of wavy locks which fall at an even length upon his forehead, creating a cap-like hairstyle. His short beard is composed of individual wavy locks. This relief can be stylistically dated to around 150-200 A.D. because of the figure’s beard and the deeply modeled folds of the himation.

Funerary relief, Stone

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