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MS804

A fine South Arabian Alabaster Incense Burner, ca 2nd century A.D.

finely rendered and well balanced, the rounded bowl with strong thick walls supported by tripod legs.   Such examples were specifically used to burn natural aromatics,  from the range of woods, barks, roots and resins used in South Arabia, (many of which have yet to be identified) within the home and temple.

There was often warfare over control of frankincense and myrrh, two of the most prized materials in antiquity, which only grow in eastern Yemen and southern Oman and in some parts of Somaliland. The production and trade of these aromatics were in the hands of the ancient South Arabians, who became extremely wealthy as a result.

Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall, the interior of the bowl with signs of use, a rare and very lovely example.

Dimensions: Height:  4 1/2 inches  (11.5cm)   Width:  8 inches   (20.3 cm) 

Provenance: Private New York collection acquired in the 1960's

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