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Title The ‘Gesture of Blessing’ in the Greco-Roman East.
Author email
About author Renate Rosenthal-Heginbottom — Ph. D., independent researcher. Am Strohberg 7, 24191 Grossolt, Germany.
In the section Art of the Ancient World DOI10.18688/aa166-1-7
Year 2016 Volume 6 Pages 7583
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.041.2; 73.027.2 Index BBK 85.13

In the Near East, the very ancient gesture of the raised right hand with the palm turned outward occurs on diverse artifacts of different size and material like sculptures, stone reliefs, clay plaques and figurines. These artifacts were attributed to several ethnic, religious and social groups all living within the area of the Greco-Roman koine. In combination with a strict frontality by which a direct contact between the gures depicted and a spectator is achieved, the gesture is an expression of non-verbal communication of messages and conveys ideas and feelings like blessing, worship, prayer, adoration, protection, power, though interpretation and contextualization are o en hypothetical. The majority of the artifacts were produced for the local market, thus it is unlikely that there was a mutual exchange of artistic concepts and iconographic attributes, with the exception of clay plaques and gurines used in Dura Europos and Palmyra. Other categories like the Phoenician gurines, the Palmyrene funerary busts, the Parthian statues and reliefs and the Nabatean coroplastic cra are distinct indigenous creations. Consequently, the objects have to be examined in their speci c local contexts. The gesture of the raised right hand is neither a cultural nor an ethno-religious marker. The interpretation and understanding of the message it was meant to convey is always affected by modern conceptions.

Reference Renate Rosenthal-Heginbottom. The ‘Gesture of Blessing’ in the Greco-Roman East.. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 6. Eds: Anna V. Zakharova, Svetlana V. Maltseva, Ekaterina Yu. Stanyukovich-Denisova. St. Petersburg, NP-Print Publ., 2016, pp. 75–83. ISSN 2312-2129.
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