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Statue of standing male figure
ca. 1st century B.C.E.


Kingdom of Qataban

Travertine; carved and drilled
H: 41.2 W: 14.8 D: 10.8 cm
Yemen

Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn to the Smithsonian Institution S1986.513

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A number of similar statues have been excavated at Timna', the ancient capital of the kingdom of Qatab¯an (ca. 500-100 B.C.E.), located in what is now Yemen at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. The inscription on the front of the statue base, written in ancient South Arabian script, gives the personal name of the figure depicted. Funerary monuments like this one commemorated the deceased, whose name was often carved at the base of the statue. Qatab¯an was one of several kingdoms that prospered in antiquity as they gained control over the caravan trade routes across the Arabian peninsula. Frankincense and myrrh, prized products of the southern peninsula, were transported along the trade routes to Mediterranean markets.