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Standing Male Cupbearer

Artist Culture
Early Dynastic period (Mesopotamian), 2900–2350 BC
2900–2350 BC
Calcite with lapis lazuli and shell inlay
Associated with
Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Asia
Sculpture, stone & mineral
Current Location
On View, Gallery 259
4 1/4 x 1 3/4 x 1 5/8 in. (10.8 x 4.4 x 4.1 cm)
Credit Line
Friends Fund Endowment and funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Christian B. Peper, Mr. and Mrs. Lester A. Crancer Jr., and an anonymous donor
Public Domain
Object Number
The large inlaid eyes of this diminutive votive statue are meant to capture the attention of the gods. Statues such as this have been found in temples were believed to have their own life force. They functioned as an active substitute for the dedicator, whose name was often inscribed along the shoulder. Many other examples of this type of statue clasp their hands together in a gesture of prayer, but this example stands out because it holds a small bowl of lapis lazuli, a valuable blue stone. The bowl likely represents the act of dedicating a liquid offering, called a libation. Similar statues have been excavated from temples throughout the ancient Near East.
- 1950s
Private Collection, Cologne, Germany

1950s - 1999
Auguste Hiernaux, Belgium, acquired from private collector; Alfred Lagneau (d.1979), Neuchatel, Switzerland, by inheritance; Andre Lagneau, Neuchatel, Switzerland, by inheritance

1999 - 2000
Phoenix Ancient Art, S.A., Geneva, Switzerland, purchased from Andre Lagneau [1]

2000 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Phoenix Ancient Art, S.A. [2]

[1] A letter dated May 18, 2000 from Andre Lagneau confirms that the figurine was acquired by his father, Alfred Lagneau, sometime in the 1950s from a cousin, Auguste Hiermaux, who was an officer in the Belgian army occupying Germany. Hiermaux purchased it in Cologne, Germany. Andre Lagneau inherited the object from his father, and in May 1999, he sold it to Phoenix Ancient Art [SLAM document files].

[2] Bill of sale dated September 28, 2000 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, September 6, 2002.
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