- Gallery Text
The cloaked man on this tomb relief is accompanied by an Aramaic inscription that reads: Malē, son of
Maliku, son of Bagad. Alas! The man’s son, standing behind him on a pedestal, is also identified as
Maliku. The clothing of the two figures is culturally mixed: Malē has a hairstyle popular in the time of
Hadrian, and his tunic and cloak are Greco-Roman in style, while Maliku is dressed in a shorter tunic and
what may be Parthian trousers. As with other Palmyrene funerary reliefs, Malē’s portrait is notable for its frontality, which encourages the viewer to engage directly with the image of the deceased.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Funerary Relief of a Man and Child
- Work Type
- c. 150 CE
- Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Palmyra (Syria)
- Roman Imperial period, Middle
Level 3, Room 3710, North Arcade
View this object's location on our interactive map
- Physical Descriptions
- 66 cm h x 56.5 cm w x 22 cm d (26 x 22 1/4 x 8 11/16 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
inscription: in Aramaic,
"Male, son of Maliku, son of Bagad, Alas!"; "Maliku, his son, Alas!"
- inscription: in Aramaic,
- Semitic Museum, Cambridge, MA, (by 1941), transfer; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1998.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Semitic Museum, Harvard University
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990
A small child stands at the young man's side on a pedestal to the left of the man's right shoulder. The man wears his hair in the combed-forward manner popular in the Roman Empire under Hadrian (AD 125-135). He has a ring with an inset stone on the smallest finger of the left hand. his costume consists of a himation over a loose chiton, the former concealing all of the right arm except for the hand and all the left arm save for the hand that holds a rotulus. The child wears a long tunic with overfold at the waist, covering both arms. He holds a cluster of fruit or a flower in the left hand.
The inscription to the right of the man reads "Male, son of Maliku, son of Bagad, Alas!: The boy's inscription reads "Maliku, his son, Alas."
With the child omitted and the hair arranged in somewhat more early Antonine fashion, this man is identical in costume and sculptural treatment to the monument of Moquimu in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. If individual sculptor's hands are to be isolated in Palmyrene funerary sculpture, two monuments by the same carver seem to survive in both the Harvard University Art Museums and the Museum of Fine Arts (Comstock, Vermeule, 1976, p. 256, no. 399).
Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer
- Publication History
Gandharan Art and its Classical Connections, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1983), no. 6, illus.
Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 165, no. 151
Delbert R. Hillers and Eleonora Cussini, Palmyrene Aramaic Texts, The Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, 1995), p. 315, PAT 2721
- Exhibition History
Roman Gallery Installation (long-term), Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/16/1999 - 01/20/2008
Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/22/2007 - 01/20/2008
32Q: 3710 North Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, 11/01/2014
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
- Related Works
This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at firstname.lastname@example.org