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MS1552

A Western Anatolian Marble Head, Kilia type, Chalcolithic or Early Bronze Age, ca. 4th-3rd millenium B.C.

the pointed ears, small protruding eyes and slender nose have all be sculpted with great care.  Broken at the neck, the remains of which suggest the head was backward tiling, hence the term "stargazer", commonly used for these idols.  Carved from fine-grained marble with a polished surface.   

Background:  Kilia idols date from as early as 4500 to 4000 BCE, and are precursors to the better-known Cycladic sculpture of ancient Greece.  Said to originate in the Gallipoli Peninsula from the Greek village of Kilia in modern-day European Turkey, such marble fragments of Kilia-type sculpture are commonly called “stargazers” because the heads of the figures are tilted upward to the sky.  Complete stargazer figures are extraordinarily rare, with reports of only 15 intact pieces worldwide which has led the Loyola University of Museum of Art to suggest the figurines were involved in a ritual in which their heads were broken from their bodies (LUMA).  Yet what this ritual may be, if it is a substitute human sacrifice or something else, is a mystery. Kilia type’s popularity is its widespread distribution, stretching from southwestern Anatolia up to Troy and Aphrodisias (Joukowsky 90). This indicates that these figures must have spread by trade amongst small chiefdoms, instead of being concentrated within one kingdom.  

Condition:  from a complete figure, the head is intact and in excellent condition overall.  Custom mounted.

Dimensions:  1 3/8 inches (3.5 cm)

Provenance:  Private NYC collection, acquired Royal Athena Gallery, NYC., 1980s (original RAG sticker on base).

 

 

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