Syrian Bronze Figure M-177
Bryn Mawr College Collections
Richard C. Bull Collection

Map of Levant

 


 

Canaanite Culture

  From Syria are two male figurines, M-140 and M-177, which have parallels in several famous collections such as the Walters in Baltimore, the Louvre, and the British Museum. They also have excavated comparanda as well. The figure M-140came from clandestine excavations and so is questionable. The figure M-177 is similar to a figurine found during the French excavations at Ugarit (Ras Shamra) on June 3, 1932 in a ceramic vessel along with a female figurine. Due to the fact that the vessel with two figures was found near the temple of Baal, it was thought that the figures may have had a cultic purpose, either as votives or small icons. The date of these figures is not secure since the stratigraphical location for the vessel in which the figures were found is uncertain. The excavation director, Claude Schaeffer, dated the figurines between the twentieth and eighth centuries BCE. The male figure is made of silver or pale electrum and has a gold necklace and gold foil skirt and weapons. Both the Ugarit figure and the Bull Collection figure are completely flat along the back from head to toe. Both have pointed, prominent noses, incised mouths, and projecting chins. The shoulders on both figures are broad and square and the necks are long and thin. From the shoulders their arms hang straight at their sides and then bend at the elbow at right angles. Both have hands that are in fists and are pierced through to hold something. The Ugarit figure has two low knobs for nipples on his chest and between them is an incised line for the muscles. Above the breasts is a wavy line for the collar bone. These lines represent details similar to those on the Bull Collection figure. Both figures are overlaid with a precious metal foil which covers their thighs like a skirt which ends just above the knees. Their legs are rounded from the knees downward and there is an arris running along the front of their shins. Both stand on short feet which meld in with the round pedestal bases on which they stand.  


Bronze Figurines from Ugarit Schaeffer, Claude F.A. Ugaritica II, 1949. Pl. XVII.