The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, May 21, 2018

Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery receives gift of 374 rare Southern Arabian artifacts
One of a pair of large bronze high reliefs each in the form of a striding lioness surmounted by a figure of Eros, 1st century B.C.E.-mid-1st century C.E. Yemen. Bronze. Gift of The American Foundation for the Study of Man (Wendell and Merilyn Phillips Collection) S2013.202

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery today announced a gift of 374 ancient Arabian artifacts from the American Foundation for the Study of Man. Dating from the eighth century B.C. to the second century A.D., the objects were unearthed at the ancient city of Tamna in Yemen and provide invaluable insight into the little-known history of the southern Arabian Peninsula. The collection was assembled by American archaeology pioneer Wendell Phillips in the early 1950s. Together with a team of renowned archaeologists, Phillips compiled thorough excavation records, creating one of the few fully documented collections of Qataban artifacts available to researchers that are invaluable to future study of the region.

The donation of the complete Qataban collection to the Sackler is made possible by Merilyn Phillips Hodgson, president of the AFSM and sister of the late Wendell Phillips.

"This collection provides the Sackler with a tremendous opportunity to shed light on the rich history and culture of ancient Arabia, and to do so through the discoveries of one of the most remarkable early archeologists, Wendell Phillips," said Julian Raby, The Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art.

Once admired for its fragrant and abundant foliage and lush pastures, the Qataban empire of the late first millennium B.C. was a hub of cultural exchange, central to the ancient trade routes that extended from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. Tamna was its bustling capital city and reached its peak between the fifth century B.C. and first century A.D., when a mysterious catastrophic fire destroyed the city, leaving it buried under layers of ash and sand for almost two millennia.

Tamna remained largely undiscovered until the 1950s, when Phillips, a paleontologist, geologist and a self-taught archaeologist, gathered a team and began systematic excavations to unearth and record artifacts using methods that are standard archaeological practices today. His technical methods in excavation and detailed field notes have been critical to the study of ancient Arabia and have laid the groundwork for more recent explorations.

Highlights among Phillips' discoveries are a pair of striking bronze lions with the figure of Eros, the Greek god of love, on their backs. Known as the "Lions of Tamna," the skillfully cast sculptural forms exemplify the vibrant cultural exchange between the Qataban and Greek empires. Another collection highlight is a translucent alabaster head of a young woman, with lapis lazuli eyebrows and an Egyptian-style hairstyle. Unearthed in the cemetery of Tamna, the head was named "Miriam" after the daughter of a member of the expedition.

In 1949, Phillips founded the American Foundation for the Study of Man with the mission to “conduct scientific research, study and investigate man and his habitats with emphasis on archaeological investigation, excavation, preservation, analysis and dissemination of scientific results.” The collection is part of the AFSM, originally founded in Washington, D.C., and currently based in Falls Church, Va.

Selections from the collection were on view in the Sackler’s 2005 exhibition “Caravan Kingdoms: Yemen and the Ancient Incense Trade.” The Qataban empire is one of the least known of the ancient South Arabian empires. This collection holds potential for new research and discovery and is a window into an almost forgotten ancient civilization. In celebration of the AFSM’s gift, the Sackler will mount an exhibition of collection highlights in 2014, while planning further touring exhibitions and conferences, workshops and public programs to encourage the study and research of this remarkable group of works.

Today's News

August 23, 2013

Evidence shows that powerful women ruled 1,200 years ago in northern Peru

National Maritime Museum uses X-ray scans to help fix musical toy from Titanic

Sotheby's to offer Magnificent Ritual Bronzes from the Collection of Julius Eberhardt

Columbus Museum of Art opens "George Bellows and the American Experience"

Researchers from The University of York reveal hunter-gatherers' taste for spice

Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery receives gift of 374 rare Southern Arabian artifacts

British Library to partner with National Library of Singapore to digitise Malay manuscripts

Tibetan coins achieved record prices at Spink China Auction held in Hong Kong

Bonhams appoint Anastasia Vinokurova as its new representative in Moscow

Christie's announces Sale of Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Paintings and Prints

Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai announces the sixteenth Young Collectors Auction

Columbus Museum of Art breaks ground on new wing by architecture firm DesignGroup

Exhibition with works by Anders Kjellesvik and Monique van Genderen on view at Galerie Michael Janssen

British Library displays The Football Association's 1863 Minute Book

A new exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art explores the photography of Alberto Korda

The inaugural Edition Chicago announces 2013 gallery list

Permanent collection is given fresh new perspectives at the Haggerty Museum of Art

Colourful murals show Nepal's dark side

The vibrancy of the current contemporary art scene in China brought to London for the first time

The Jewish Museum presents "Elaine Reichek: A Postcolonial Kinderhood Revisited"

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful