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Osiris head sculpture. Phoenicia

Unknown500 BC - 401 BC

Museo de Cádiz

Museo de Cádiz

This underwater finding is linked to the temple of Venus Marina-Astarte in Cádiz, located, according to classical texts, in Punta del Nao. The habit of throwing abundant offerings into the sea in this area, most likely from funeral corteges at sea, once again reflects the protective character that this goddess had for sea goers. The head is worked in great detail, in particular, the curly hair, which could have been a hairpiece. The compacted beard gives this figure a clear Egyptian air and the almond-shaped eyes correspond to the habitual artistic canons in the Asiatic Middle East. This is a representation of a Phoenician figure, who is also known in places such as Sardinia. The Canaan traders appeared in paintings found in the Egyptian tombs of the New Kingdom with this same lively aspect, in which the striking colour of the clothes of these people from Syria-Palestine can be appreciated. Nevertheless, although this piece from Cádiz appeared quite a time after the abovementioned pieces, it does not seem that the attention for their personal appearance decreased between Phoenicians and Carthaginians with respect to their ancestors from the 2nd millennium. The Romans, mortal enemies of the Carthaginians, described them as "effeminate" as a result of the time which they spent on complicated hairstyles and, especially, arranging their beards. We know that in Carthage, there were sacred barbers who were involved in dressing the bodies for their "final journey".

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