Fleischer, Robert; Schulz, Regine; Al-Salami, Mohammed Ali

Figurale Bronzen ägyptischer und griechisch-römischer Art vom Jabal al-‘Awd, Jemen (von Robert Fleischer und Regine Schulz)· Die Felsmalereien von Djarf al-Yahudi im zentraljemenitischen Hochland. Neuere Informationen zur Palastarchitektur im vorislamisc

22.5 x 31.0 cm, 112 p., 59 illustrations b/w, hardback
58,00 €

ISBN: 9783895008429
Table of Contents

Short Description

The first article in this volume presents 17 bronzes that came to light among the ruins of an enwalled settlement atop the Jabal al-‘Awd, a nearly 3000-meter high mountain located some 50 km east of Ibb. The figural bronzes encompass Egyptian or Greek-Roman kinds, but also those obviously produced in South Arabia that display the influence of works from the Mediterranean sphere.
Residences of rulers and palaces are a well-known occurrence among ancient civilizations. This applies to ancient South Arabia as well, whence a number of such complexes are found, for example, the palace of Gumdan in Sana’a. The description of Gumdan, as documented by al-Hamdani for instance, shows great similarity with the rock paintings at Djarf al-Yahudi, a basolt promontory located ca. 50 km east of Sana’a.
The second contribution in this tome provides a description of these rock paintings and compares them with the documentation made by al-Hamdani.


Robert Fleischer - Regine Schulz: Figurale Bronzen ägyptischer und griechisch-römischer Art vom Jabal al-‘Awd, Jemen

In 1996 a local farmer discovered a large number of ancient bronzes below the summit of the mountain Jabal al-‘Awd in Yemen at a height of nearly 3000 m. Only a few of these objects are known today. Other ancient objects had been illegally excavated in this area before, and the new find initiated official excavations, executed by the German Archaeological Institute, department Sana’a.
On the mountain was a fortified town with gates, a temple, cobbled streets and houses built of volcanic stone. This town was used in the first three centuries of the Common Era, and was probably destroyed by invading Ethiopians. The bronzes came from a large building, an impressive construction built with imported limestone blocks. The building had several floors, which had collapsed and the bronzes were presumably thrown down from the upper floors. It is possible that they were stored in a hidden place in times of conflict, or they were part of the booty of war of the city dwellers.
The variety of objects is diverse and includes numerous South Arabian pieces. Those of local tradition are not part of this work and will be published separately by a different author. The material presented here includes bronzes imported from Egypt, Italy and possibly other areas of the Mediterranean. Also included are locally produced examples influenced by Mediterranean models, identified as South Arabian based on technical characteristics.
Two very similar female statuettes were part of a larger series, but they are different in size and therefore cast in different moulds. This raises the question where these bronzes were made, and if perhaps a craftsman was the producer traveling with his moulds. Two bronzes, the Egyptian Sphinx and the bust of Athena have South Arabian inscriptions, which identify them as votive offerings. These inscriptions have nothing to do with their original purpose, nor with the place of their discovery. Most unusual is the facemask of a Roman cavalry helmet, the only specimen of this kind found outside the borders of the Roman Empire.
The bronzes from the Jabal al-‘Awd are the largest and most important discovery of its kind on the Arabian Peninsula. It is unfortunate that only a few have been preserved and are available for research. Since the turn of the era these objects either reached Yemen by trade or they were manufactured in South Arabia. The trade route from Egypt through the Red Sea to India became intensified under the reign of Augustus, and South Arabia and the Mediterranean were brought closer together as never before.

Mohammed Ali al-Salami: Die Felsmalereien von Djarf al-Yahudi im zentraljemenitischen Hochland. Neue Informationen zur Palastarchitektur im vorislamischen Arabien

The article concerns paintings of architecture found on a rock projection in Djarf al-Yahudi in Khawlan at-Tiyal, located ca. 50 km east of Sana’a. The representation of a large complex of buildings was made in Middle Sabaean times (1st century BC - 3rd century AD); it is shown together with other, contextually unrelated motifs, graffiti of animals and persons as well as short inscriptions. The paintings are mainly in dark red, black and white colours.
The architectural representation can be divided into three juxtaposed sections, each depicting different structures. These are multi-storied buildings that picture fortified or palatial complexes. Such monumental edifices are known from pre-Islamic inscriptions, but also from descriptions in later Islamic times (for example, by al-Hamdani, 10th century AD); however, until now they have not been clearly attested in archaeological contexts. The exceedingly detailed illustrations are not limited to just the buildings themselves, but also pertain to the furnishings such as statuary, plants and other decorative elements. This enables the comparison of the rock paintings at Djarf al-Yahudi with written sources describing palace complexes. Thus, it can be suggested that the building complex depicted here is that of Gumdan, the famed royal palace of Sana’a.

Biographical Note

Professor Dr. Robert Fleischer
(born in 1941 in Vienna) studied Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Vienna (1958 to1963). He was assistant at the Austrian Archaeological Institute (1963 to 1977) and served in the Austrian Army (1964/1965). In 1973 he received his Habilitation at the University of Vienna, was full Professor at the University of Mainz (1977to2006) and Visiting Professor at the Bryn Mawr College, PA, USA (1989).
Excavations and field research in Austria, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Yemen.
Classical Archaeology and Archaeology of the Roman provinces, especially ancient bronzes, Anatolian cult statues, classical sarcophagi, Hellenistic ruler portraiture, rock-cut tombs in Anatolia.

Professor Dr. Regine Schulz
is Director of the Roemer- and Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim and Professor of Egyptology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. From 2001 to 2011 she was Curator of Ancient Art and from 2003 to 2007 also Acting Curator of Islamic art at the Walters Art Museum, as well as Affiliate Professor at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA). From the 1990s she became interested in South Arabia and organized in 1999 the exhibition “Treasures from the Land of the Queen of Sheba” in Hildesheim, and in 2007 “Faces of Ancient Arabia” in Baltimore.

Muhammad Ali al-Salami
is Associate Professor of Old South Arabian languages at the University of Sana’a. He earned his doctorate in 2010 at the University of Jena with a dissertation on sabaic inscriptions from Hawlan. His area of activity includes the old south arabian dialects as well as the History and Genealogy of arabian clans.


Arabian peninsula (61) || Archaeology (526) || Archaeology by period / region (443) || Architekturmalerei || Artemis, von Ephesos || Athena (2) || Bronzeguss || Djarf al-Yahudi || Fine arts: art forms (180) || Gumdan || Helm || Isis || Isiskrone || Jabal al-‘Awd || Löwe || Non-graphic art forms (49) || Painting & paintings (38) || Palast (4) || Ptolemäer (3) || Satyr || Sculpture (35) || Sphinx || Yemen (36)