The Parthians were a horse riding people who, around 240 B.C., conquered Parthava, present-day Turkmenistan, east of the Caspian Sea. Formidable rivals of Rome, they extended Parthia far into the East and into the West. In the art of the Middle East the Parthians have clearly left their traces.
This figurine of a man with a string instrument is Parthian in every respect. The way the man is dressed is very typical indeed. The legs, separate, are attached to the body by means of pieces of string. The legs and the rest of the body were manufactured in ready-made moulds. Such figurines were found, among other places, in Seleucia on the Tigris, in Iraq. The back of the figurine is completely plain. It does feature an eyelet, for hanging it on the wall. Clearly, it is intended to be looked at frontally.