about A.D. 190–211
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 367; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).
Height: 42 cm (16 9/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble from Mt. Filfila, northeastern Algeria
Not On View
The seated Saturn wore his himation as a veil, part falling or being brought across the lap. Saturn, a god of harvests, carries a sickle, and the sickle in the right hand confirms the identification of this statue. Cults of Saturn were popular in the rich agricultural communities of North Africa. In these formerly Carthaginian areas, he was identified with Baal, the god of Phoenician origins.
The god’s right arm is mostly missing; the left, now also lost, was doweled on with an iron pin. The back of the statue was worked to be set against a niche, and the bottom was fashioned for insertion in the draped lower limbs, which are missing. The nose and other secondary details have suffered damage, and areas of the surface have remains of gray to very light yellow deposit. The god has a drilled-out beard. The pupils of the eyes were finished in paint.
Harvard Lab No. HI263: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.85 / delta18O -3.37, Attribution - Probably Mt. Filfila, Algeria, Justification - isotopes; some gray spots, fine grained, from Algeria.
By about 1956: said to have come from Cuicul (Jamîla) in Algeria about 1956 via Paris art market; by about 1957: Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Rowland, Jr. Collection; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Rowland, Jr. to MFA, December 27, 1965
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Rowland, Jr.