South Arabian sculpture is characterized by its striking variety of carved memorial stelae and votive statues, often carved in alabaster or in limestone, such as the present piece. They are noted for their distinctive, ‘modern’ appearance, and their often enigmatic and powerful presence. Ancient Greek and Roman authors marveled at the immense wealth of South Arabia (known in the Roman world as Arabia Felix – ‘fortunate Arabia’).
A SOUTH ARABIAN LIMESTONE INCENSE BURNER CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D. With a pyramidal pedestal base inscribed on two sides with five rows of Old South Arabian reading, "Abd-il and Dhakhirum, the sons of Nihmayan, clients servants of (the clan) Dhu-Shar'an, have [dedicate]ed to Athtar [with]in Hidrum an incense-altar and two statues for their well-being, and the well-being of their ... and their increase, for child[ren] and prosperity": 21¾ in. (55.2 cm.) high