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Carved stone slab (stela) with a standing woman


British Museum

British Museum

This stela was probably originally either used as a grave stone or placed inside a tomb. Such images were popular in ancient South Arabia, as well as in other places where a representation of the dead person was thought to be essential for their survival in the next world. In Palmyra, for example, images of the owners of tombs were known as a nefesh: a 'soul' or 'personality'. Often the dead person's name was written on a stela, statue, plaque, or plinth and was thought to be as important as the actual image. There is, though, no inscription on this particular stela. The ancient South Arabians worshipped a number of gods until, by the end of the fourth century AD, monotheism, or the worship of a single god, developed. References in inscriptions to Almaqah and other gods were superseded by references to Rahmanan, 'Lord of Heaven and Earth'.

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  • Title: Carved stone slab (stela) with a standing woman
  • Date Created: -99/99
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 35.30 cm; Width: 24.50 cm; Thickness: 8.50 cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1985,0223.12
  • Production place: Made in Yemen
  • Place: Found/Acquired Yemen
  • Period/culture: Ancient South Arabian
  • Material: calcite
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Day, Stephen P. Donated by Doe, Donald Brian
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