Home page

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
AN ANATOLIAN MARBLE FEMALE IDOL OF KILIYA TYPE
THE SCHUSTER "STARGAZER" THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
AN ANATOLIAN MARBLE FEMALE IDOL OF KILIYA TYPE

CHALCOLITHIC PERIOD, CIRCA 3300-2500 B.C.

Details
AN ANATOLIAN MARBLE FEMALE IDOL OF KILIYA TYPE
CHALCOLITHIC PERIOD, CIRCA 3300-2500 B.C.
Of highly stylized geometric form, the massive head tilted backward acutely, with small bulging eyes, a long ridged nose and small ears projecting out at their tips, with a slender neck and broad rounded shoulders, the arms off-set from the torso by oblique cuts, the forearms in raised relief, the wide hips with the pubic area incised, the legs together, divided by an incision, the feet projecting forward
7 7/8 in. (20 cm.) high
Provenance
Marion Schuster, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Mathilde de Goldschmidt-Rothschild.
The Schuster Collection; Sotheby's, London, 10 July 1989, lot 66.
with Robin Symes, London.
Literature
P. Getz-Preziosi in D. von Bothmer, et al., Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection, New York, 1990, p. 9.
J. Seeher, "Die Kleinasiatischen Marmorstatuetten vom Typ Kiliya," Archäologischer Anzeiger, Berlin, 1992, no. 19, ill. 5.

Lot Essay

The Schuster idol is one of the finest of Kiliya type preserved from antiquity. Hailing originally from Anatolia in western Turkey, the figure's popular name of "stargazer" comes from the obvious backward tilt of the head and the small bulging eyes aimed high. Such figures are known academically as Kiliya Type figures, taking their name from the find-spot of the first of its kind to have been published. Kiliya is a site near Gallipoli on Turkey's Gelibolu peninsula; that first figure was published in the early 20th century and is currently in the collection of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

The dating of Kiliya idols is somewhat problematic, although it is clear that they belong to the late Chalcolithic Period. The earliest examples known are two fragmentary figures found at Aphrodisias from a context datable to the late 5th millennium B.C.; the latest is a fragmentary head from Troy dating to 2300-2200 B.C. (see Thimme, ed., Art and Culture of the Cyclades, p. 176). A 2000 year time-span seems impossibly long and is difficult to explain. Most scholars disregard the earliest and latest dates and ascribe them to approximately 3300-2500 B.C.

Only about 15 complete or nearly complete "stargazer" idols survive, while numerous fragmentary pieces are known (for a recent list see Seeher, op. cit.). Most of the complete examples have been broken across the neck, as here, suggesting that the sculptures were ritually "killed" at the time of burial. They range in size from about 2½ inches to 9 inches (see Getz-Preziosi, op. cit., p. 9). It is unclear what the relationship is, if any, between these Anatolian idols and their better-known and roughly-contemporary cousins from the Cycladic Islands further west.

For comparable complete figures see the example from the Collection of Shelby White and Leon Levy, no. 4 in Getz-Preziosi, op. cit., nos. 560-563 in Thimme, ed., op. cit., and from the Guennol Collection, fig. 82 in Getz-Preziosi, Early Cycladic Sculpture.
;

More from Antiquities

View All
View All