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Head of a Man
300 B.C.E.-100 C.E.




Alabaster (calcite)
H: 19.8 W: 17.5 D: 9.0 cm
Yemen

Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn to the Smithsonian Institution S1986.511

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Numerous often stylized memorial portraits and "face plaques" have been excavated in the cemeteries of Southern Arabia, mainly in the Wadi Beihan and the area of the ancient Qataban Empire (modern Yemen) that flourished between the 5th century BCE and the 1st century CE. in the 19th and 20th centuries. Close parallels to this head are in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History where the remainder of the Hirshhorn collection is today. An updated bibliography on alabaster statues and fragments found throughout modern Yemen can be found in Sabina Antonini, and Mounir Arbach, La statuaria sudarabica in pietra. Rome and Paris (2001). This head stems most likely from the vast cemeteries of ancient Tamna.