The Art and Orchid GalleryThe Art and Orchid Gallery
Large Middle Eastern Antiquity Carved Pietre Tenere

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Religious Artifacts: Judaica: Pre 1920: item # 1170277

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The Art and Orchid Gallery
7896 SE Peach Way
Jupiter, Florida

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Large Middle Eastern Antiquity Carved Pietre Tenere
The Art and Orchid Gallery's antique carving appears to be Middle Eastern, possibly 5th-6th Century A.D. A similar looking antiquity was found in Hadda, Afghanistan and is now in Musee Guimet in Paris.[106A] Both images are of a bearded ascetic, such as one from the Jewish sect of Essenes.[181B] Our figure is carved out of translucent, fluorescent (yellow, see photo) alabaster, a pietre tenere of hardness of 2 or less.[95C, 97D, 96E] Alabaster is a compact variation of gypsum, a hydrated calcium sulfate [96E, 67F] used for thousands of years in ornamental carvings. Alabaster is found in many colors including the mottled tan to brown of our figure.[9H] For the last several centuries the Italians have used alabaster for inlay in both secular and ecclesiastical ornamentation.[97G] Our figure of an ascetic is carved on three sides and hollowed out on the back. Since it is translucent, it may have covered a light, such as a candle holder. It now contains a hole for wall mounting. The figure is in good condition, no major cracks but typical pietre tenere scuff bruises. References available upon request. Size: ~ 16 1/4" x 3 3/4" x 1 1/2"; Weight: ~ 2047 grams; Hardness: Less than 2 on Mohs scale;

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