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Holy Land (Canaanite) Bronze figure depicting the god Baal, Circa 1500-1200 BC

Conservation:  Good condition
Material:  Bronze
Dimensions:  27,5 x 5 cm
Provenance:  Aphrodite Ancient Art, New York, 2017
Exhibited:  Ifergan Collection, Málaga (2018-2020)


Ref aph134 Category Tag

Sculpture that represents in a very slender and simplified manner the image of the god Baal, shown with the typical conical cap that identifies him as a representative attribute. The face succinctly shows the facial features of the god, representing the eyes with simple orifices and the nose as a protuberance. Two arms bent at the elbow and extending the forearm forward, with clenched fists, suggesting that they were holding the characteristic attributes of the god Baal, such as the mallet and the thunderbolt.

In Mesopotamian mythology, Baal is recognised as the god of rain, he prevents floods and is related to the fertility of crops, in his mythological cycle there are 3 important events related to the god Baal. His confrontation with Yam, the god of chaos and the raging sea, sometimes represented as a sea-snake that tries to take the god Baal’s place and loses in battle. The construction of Baal’s palace and his descent into the world of the dead, the abode of the god Mot, who justifies the seasons. Throughout the ancient Near East, Baal, a storm god associated with the fertility of the earth, was worshipped, and his cult is specifically mentioned in the Bible. Dry summers were believed to be Baal’s time in the underworld; his return in autumn brought renewing rains to the country. “Baal’ was the Semitic word for ‘lord’ or ‘master’, and became the divine patron of the royal houses of Canaan.

For similar types of Phoenician bronze figures, mostly of Baal, cf. Cf. D. Collon, The Smiting God: A Study of a Bronze in the Pomerance Collection in New York, Levant 4, (1972) pp.111-34; O. Negbi, Canaanite Gods in Metal, vol.5 (Tel Aviv, 1976).

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