Monumental Sabaean Bull Protome with a Drain

Culture: Sabaean
Period: 4th-2nd century B.C.
Material: Alabaster
Dimensions: 31.5 cm long
Price: 16 000 Euro
Ref: 6433
Provenance: From the private estate of the well-known Parisian art dealer François Antonovich (born 1934), acquired in the 1970s.
Condition: Unrestored. The mouth is worn at the bottom, otherwise only minor chips. A large, very impressive sculpture.
Description: Monumental alabaster bull protome which once served as a drain of an altar or a gargoyle. The bull with a stylized head, large protruding eyes with four curved folds above. The horns are short and rounded, the ears sculpturally worked out and resting. The back of the head and the back itself are traversed by a sharp-edged channel through which the libation could flow. On the one hand the bull served as the symbolic animal of various deities, such as for Almaqah in Sheba or Anbi in Qataban, on the other hand it assumed an overlapping protection role. This is how depiction of bulls on amulets, funerary steles and on house facades are to be interpreted. The monumental seize of these bull protomes suggests that it was part of a massive altar for libation or a gargoyle. See for the type “Jemen – Kunst und Archäologie im Land der Königin von Saba”, Wilfried Seipel (Hrsg.), Nr. 170 and Nr. 223. Mounted.