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“Palmyra Banquet Sculpture”


2nd-3rd century

Palmyra, a major transit point to the west of the Silk Road, prospered as an oasis city between the first and third centuries. Its historic sites in the Syrian desert are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage. Royals and nobles as well as wealthy citizens erected stone tombs and laid out the lids of coffins with opulent engraving of their lives.

This work formed part of a relief that decorated a tomb. Other than a few places, the faces of the figures have all been damaged, though the patterns of the clothes and belongings are depicted in detail, giving the viewer a valuable understanding of how people then lived.