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Lot 0208
**Originally Listed At $800**

Ancient Near East, modern Syria, Tell Brak, Late Uruk Period, ca. 3300 to 3000 BCE. A fine and abstract eye idol, hand-carved from creamy white stone with areas of brown and salmon-pink coloration. One of the most famous types of early Mesopotamia, it has a bell-shaped body surmounted by two conjoined circles with drilled loops which form the "eyes." Eye idols were named in the 1930s by the British archaeologist Max Mallowan when he was excavating at the mound called Tell Brak and found hundreds of small anthropomorphic items of similar form to this one - some kind of simplified body topped by huge discs for eyes and no other discernible facial features. He named the place where he found them "The Temple of the Eyes." Size: 2.125" W x 2.8" H (5.4 cm x 7.1 cm).

More recently, items like this one have been found beyond the Temple of the Eyes, leading French archaeologist Catherine Breniquet to speculate that examples like this one could have also been used for separating wool while spinning. The object would have been placed in front of a seated person who used the holes to separate two or three strands and then twist them together. Artwork on cylinder seals from Uruk seems to support this hypothesis. Other scholars have suggested they might have been lids for narrow jars or parts of a firedog. What do you think this mysterious object might have been?

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1960s

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#143623

Condition

Several small areas of repair to eyes with minor chips and light adhesive residue along break lines as well as some earthen stabilization material. Minor nicks and abrasions to base, body, and eyes, with a few stable fissures. Light earthen deposits and patina throughout.

Starting Bid

$600

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Tell Brak / Late Uruk Stone Eye Idol

Estimate $2,000 - $2,200
3d
14h
10m
15s
$6000 bids
Secure
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