Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fragment of a grave stele

ca. 1st century B.C.
Southwestern Arabia
Alabaster (gypsum)
H. 5 7/8 × W. 22 3/4 × D. 6 1/4 in. (15 × 57.8 × 15.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1960
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 406
This alabaster block depicts nine stylized ibex heads carved in low relief and viewed frontally. Flanking the row of ibexes are two rectangular niched panels suggestive of temple facades. The ibex was the most widely represented animal in southwestern Arabian art. Ritual ibex hunts were an important feature of the cult practices of the southwestern Arabian kingdoms. Successfully capturing and killing these elusive creatures was believed to secure favors from the gods. Ibex skulls and horns were also used as architectural decorations on the upper corners of houses, where they are still occasionally found today.
Acquired by the Museum in 1960, purchased from Christie's, London, on July 12, 1960, lot 116.
Christie's. July 12, 1960. Fine Antiquities. Auction catalogue. London, lot 116.
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