The ancient Phoenicians established themselves in the Iron Age, around 1500 B.C in the area of Canaan, stretching from modern day Israel, Lebanon and southern Syria. They were the first people who could truly be called ‘colonialists’ and were in great demand in the expansive area around the Mediterranean as builders, artists and intellectuals. Their art was influenced by both the highly idealised Egyptian style and the naturalistic Greek Hellenistic. They adapted to the local traditions and crafts of the areas they expanded into, being great manufacturers and exporters of little scarabs, amulets, earrings, and pendants, things the Greeks dubbed ‘athyrmata’, meaning trinkets and curio.
This mask was most like used in a funerary sense, created from hammering the reverse side of a sheet of gold. The back shows the remnants of a woven linen, which may be the remains of a funerary wrapping.
Previously in a Private Collection, UK, since 1969 when acquired from the Archaeological Shop, Hilton Tel Aviv in 1969. A photocopy of the original receipt with photograph accompanies the object.