Bactrian Alabaster Aniconic Idol

A carved alabaster ovoid or aniconic idol with distinctive hole to the narrow end. 10.3 kg, 22cm (8 3/4"). Fine condition. Bactrian culture, circa 2nd millennium B.C. The Bactrian culture existed between the 3rd millennium B.C. and the 6th century in Central Asia comprising modern Afghanistan and bordering India. Its origins as a bronze age civilization was only recently (1970s) discovered by Russian archaeologist. And it was only in the 1990s that Western countries learned about it. At its most famous site, the Bactria-Margiana complex, they found an astonishing amount of remains which still is being researched today. Apart from beautiful metal objects a lot of stone idols were discovered. These took the shape of elaborate Goddesses but also of abstract columns, eggshapes and discs. Some scholars believe this to be representations of the spiritual world. Others (perhaps less romantic) researchers think they are merely counterweights due to their shapes and holes. These would hold a strap to lift them for measuring weight. Undeniably they have an intrinsic abstract beauty which almost feels modern. This example has no signs of mechanical tools, a subtle incrustation enhancing the alabaster and an overall very attractive patina. This idol was acquired on the London art market in 2022. The object was previously part of a London private collection. Provenance From a private UK collection, acquired on the London art market 1990-2000. 24 high x 13 diam, Ref. 2501
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