Friday 21 September 2012

Barford Buys Syrian Antiquity

At the weekend when the weather is good, I like to go to one or other of Warsaw's fleamarkets. I've been hunting for art deco glass recently, there is a guy who stands outside the fence on the pavement and sells house clearance junk, and it was amongst his stuff that I found a little figurine that looked familiar. After the usual haggling I got it down to 20 zloties and bought it. It had a sticky piece of rubber on the bottom which was probably originally the backing for a piece of felt and a paper label on the back: Iku-Schamagam/King of Mari/ Date: 2650 B.C. and then (what I take to be) the same in Arabic. The label is peeling off and needs reattachment. The object (17.8cm tall) is made of plaster (with a few casting bubbles) and has been given some nasty lacquer to make it shine like alabaster. There are vertical casting flashes which  show it had been made in a piece mould with at least three vertical segments, but only cleaned up on the front. This had been moulded from a model rather than the original piece (phew!). I do not understand yet why it has a pattern of punctured dots on the forehead not found in the original, which is in Damascus Museum. Obviously a tourist souvenir brought back from some holiday in Syria, I would guess from the deteriorating rubber over a decade ago.

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