"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Clay statue of two feminine musicians (Tanajer)

datation
1st century BC
provenance
North Syria
area
period
materials
themes

The importance of music, whether vocal or instrumental, is key in the spiritual expression of many faiths. Images of musicians and music making can be found in votives offered to the deities since ancient times. Some instruments also have sacred description relating to their use in religious rituals in the temples.

Undoubtedly, the archaeological finds of our ancient past reveal carvings of musicians belonging to different historical ages and discovered in different regions of our country (Mari, Ugarit, Carchemish, Shahba, Meryamin, and Al-Hayr al-Gharbi palace). All this indicates the importance of the musical arts and makes us realize that Syria has a deep-rooted history in this field. Many clay statues representing musicians have been found in Syria since ancient times.

This naturalistic example is dated to the first century BC. The origin of this kind of statue goes back to Tanjara city in northern Syria. The method of production is probably through a clay or wax mold. As the clay of the statue dries, it shrinks and becomes easy to remove from the mold. The artist first designs the front and then designs the back, and then adds the final touches for more naturalistic detail.

This object emerges as one manifestation of an ancient profession. It represents two female musicians standing on a base. The first holds a flute while the other holds a kind of drum. Their garments and head-covers are of similar stylized drapery.

see also