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Fragment of offering stand dedicatory with man carrying a ingot
Bronze; open work
Centimetres: 6.19 (length), 3.89 (height)
circa 1200-1150 BC
Bronze Age; Cypro-Bronze Age; Late Cypriote II-Late Cypriote III; Cypriote; 1st half 12th century BC
Area of Origin: Cyprus
Area of Use: Cyprus
The Greek World, third floor
Gift of R.E. Hindley. Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.
995.144.1
ROM2003_606_1
 

Description: Around 1200 BC major waves of Mycenaeans from mainland Greece immigrated to Cyprus bringing with them Greek language, customs, and religion. Greek and near Eastern influences are seen in this fragmentary bronze relief from that time. The piece vividly depicts a man carrying a copper ingot. His face is sculpted with a large frontal eye on a profile face. Yet the ox-hide shape of the ingot is typically Cypriot.

Cyprus was so famous for its copper mines that the island’s name in Greek, Kypros, translates as copper. Ingots smelted in Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age were cast in the shape of as rectangle with concave sides resembling an ox-hide. The corners were drawn out into handles for ease in carrying.

A break above the ingot-bearer’s head suggests that this figure originally formed part of a larger object—namely a four-sided stand with each side decorated with different figures. Such stands were very rare and were probably used in a temple for religious purposes, perhaps as a dais to hold a libation bowl. A few of the stands in museum collections today rest on four wheels and may recall objects mentioned both in Homer and in the Hebrew Bible. Considering the limited technology available at the time, the stands were considered technical marvels. They were exported to Crete, Sardinia, and the Levant, where they were highly prized. In the Aegean, particularly on Crete, the stands were imitated in both clay and bronze well into the first millennium BC.

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