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Palmyrene loculus stele depicting a standing boy

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Summary

A boy is represented on a grave stele from Palmyra, Syria. he object is well-preserved, only with small fragments missing from the frame. A four-lined inscription, with traces of red pigment, is indicated in the upper right corner. Here, two cracks are also visible. The portrait itself is also well-preserved: only the bird he is holding is slightly fragmented, along with the upper part of the tunic, the fingers on his right hand and also the visible crack by his right chest and upper right arm.

The boy, Nurbel is represented wearing a belted tunic. He is holding a bird and a bunch of grapes in front of his chest.

Description of object

A boy, Nûrbêl, is standing frontally with his weight resting on the right leg. He is portrayed on a framed stele with a projecting plinth. The object is well-preserved, only with small fragments missing from the frame. A four-lined inscription, with traces of red pigment, is indicated in the upper right corner. Here, two cracks are also visible. The portrait itself is also well-preserved: only the bird he is holding is slightly fragmented, along with the upper part of the tunic, the fingers on his right hand and also the visible crack by his right chest and upper right arm.

Nûrbêl has short hair, which is indicated by slightly waved grooves. His forehead is slightly protruding and the eyebrows are indicated by wide ridges. The eyelids are heavy, the eyes are large and the pupils are indicated by circular incisions. The nose is straight and the ears are slightly protruding with indication of helix, anti-helix and earlobes. The mouth is small, but full, and his chin is protruding with a slight indication of a dimple. His neck is short. Nûrbêl is wearing a belted, long-sleeved tunic with a wide, rounded neckline. The heavy folds of the tunic are indicated by deep grooves along the sleeves and by semi-circular ridges down the torso and down the lower part of the tunic. The belt is not visible, however, creates a heavy fold. He is also wearing boots. The arms are under proportioned and both arms and hands are held in front of the chest. He is holding a bunch of grapes in his right hand and the left hand is holding a bird, which is facing towards his right side.

Inscription: ḤBL | NWRBL | BR TYMY | MTNY

Alas! Nûrbêl son of Taimai (son of (?)) Mattenai.

CIS: 4133 PAT: 0485

Choice of methods

Visual examination

  • Macroscopic

Bibliography

Ingholt Archive

J.-B. Chabot (1922), Choix d’inscriptions de Palmyre, Paris, pl. XXVIII, no. 13.

J.K. Stark (1971), Personal Names in Palmyrene Inscriptions, Oxford, 39.

M.A.R. Colledge (1976), The Art of Palmyra, London, 244.

H. Ingholt (1928), Studier over Palmyrensk Skulptur, København, 20, PS 518.

F.O. Hvidberg-Hansen & G. Ploug (1993), Palmyra Samlingen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, København, 113, no. 69.

R. Raja (2017), To be or not to be depicted as a priest in Palmyra. A matter of representational spheres and societal values in T. Long & A.H. Sørensen (eds.) Positions and Professions in Palmyra, Copenhagen, 122, fig. 9.

  • IN 1147
  • Stele
  • c. 150-170 C.E.
  • Roman Imperial
  • Limestone
  • Puttmann in Syria.
  • H: 42 cm.; W: 23.5 cm.; D: 15.5 cm.

Selected photos

  • _w9a4675
  • _w9a4672
  • _w9a4673