Collection of the objects from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology collections are the result of more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions conducted around the world since it foundation in 1887.
The include materials from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan and Israel, Mesoamerica, Asia and ancient Mediterranean, as well as artifacts from natives of the Americas and Africa.
The Mesopotamia storeroom holds smaller collections from other parts of the Middle East; among them, a valuable collection of South Arabian artefacts was acquired in 1931 from Quill Jones by the Pennsylvania University Museum.
This miscellaneous collection of more than one hundred pieces includes: inscriptions, statuettes of men and animals in copper and alabaster, plinths and stelae with bas-relief and inscriptions, small altars and incense burners, basins, cosmetic boxes, jars, saucers, paterae, a lamp support in bronze, necklaces of semi-precious stones. Mainly they constitute the usual grave furniture of ancient South Arabians, recovered by lucky findings or clandestine excavations and brought to European and American museums through private collectors and interested dealers, usually from the harbor of Aden.
The twenty-two statuettes cut in alabaster, travertine or compact limestone, runs through all the variations of sculpture in round, semi-round and simple low-relief. The incense burners are generally cubic with four feet and inscribed on the four faces with the names of aromata. Metal objects, though badly preserved, are of particular interest. There are circular or cubic incense burners, resting on feet in the form of a bull’s hoof. Two of them are inscribed: a small crouched bull on a squared plaque, and an incense burner with splayed foot.
The Quill Jones South Arabian collection was inventoried in June 2012 by a team of the DASI project including prof. Alessandra Avanzini, Alessia Prioletta (epigraphist) and Gianluca Buonomini (photographer). Katherine Blanchard, keeper of the Near Eastern Collections, was of great help during the research activity in the museum. The inscriptions and the objects were catalogued in DASI by Alessia Prioletta and Alessandra Lombardi.
Photos are courtesy of the Penn Museum.
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