April 10, 2021 09:00 AM EDT Asheville, North Carolina


An Important Cypriot Limestone Figure of Herakles

early 6th century B.C., figure with arm raised with what would have been a club in hand, lion at proper left hand, wearing a lion skin, knotted at chest, draping over shoulders and lion's head enclosing hero's head, 22-1/2 x 11 x 4-7/8 in. black marble stand, 27-1/2 x 11-1/2 x 4-3/4 in.

Note: This lot will be accompanied by a letter from the consignor confirming the provenance from Mathias Komor, purchased in the early 1960s.

A note from the curator of a very closely related Cypriot figure held by The British Museum, London, addresses the iconography which is usually attributed to Hercules:

"The statue combines the familiar iconography of the Greek hero or demi-god Herakles with the that of Phoenician Melqart and Reshef. However the worship of Herakles is not attested on Cyprus before the Hellenistic periods, while Melqart's cult is known very indirectly (and Reshef was probably much more import, as the epigraphic evidence suggests). The imagery used to represent Reshef, who is mentioned in inscriptions from around 400 BC, is quite varied.

It is likely therefore that the fusion of features found in this statue represents first and foremost a local god concerned with protecting humans from natural threats. He is often referred to by scholars as the 'Master of the Lion' or 'Master of the Animals' (the latter analogous to the 'Mistress of the Animals' found in ancient Greek texts). He was later assimilated with Greek Apollo and Reshef in particular, both of whom have close associations with hunting and the natural world on Cyprus."


For another example see The British Museum, https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/G_1873-0320-38 


Provenance:Mathias Komor, New York, purchased in 1959; Private North Carolina Collection


mounted with two bolts from behind, abrasions

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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