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Virtual exhibitions - Bronze artifacts from the Military Museum of Sana
This virtual exhibition is the result of a long lasting cooperation between the University of Pisa and the Military Museum of Sana. The cooperation started in the 2009 within the CASIS project, during which the epigraphic collection housed in the Museum was photographed, catalogued and digitalized to be part of the DASI database.
From the 2013 the unsettled political situation of the country prevented any mission in Yemen. Despite this, the cooperation moved forward with as main objectives the conservation and promotion of the collection, as well as the training of the Museum staff.
For this purpose, in the 2014, the bronze collection of the Museum, including sixteen pieces, two of which with inscriptions, was brought to Italy as a loan to the University of Pisa, in order to be restored by the laboratory of the Department of Civiltà e Forme del Sapere, with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affaires.
The project, under the direction of the prof. Alessandra Avanzini, has been conducted by a team made up of Fabio Betti (archaeologist), Gianluca Buonomini (restorer), Annamaria De Santis (archaeologist), Alessandra Lombardi (archaeologist), Costanza Odierna (epigraphist) and Emanuele Taccola (archaeologist).
The restoration of the pieces ended after a complex operation that contrasted the previous destructive actions (Restoration Report). The preliminary study of the objects led us to launch a new and important project aimed at promoting the knowledge of this bronze corpus to a larger public.
The result is the current virtual exhibition in the portal Arabia Antica, where a section dedicated to the Sana Military Museum was already set up. The virtual exhibition was enriched by the creation of 3D models of the most representative pieces. The 3D models were designed to give a clear image of the bronze objects, so detailed as to make visible even the smallest details (Report 3D Models).

B 9550

Small statue of a woman. The straight hairstyle ends just above the shoulders covering part of the forehead and the ears. A short cylindrical polos girds the top of the head. Plain long dress and pronounced breasts. The left arm, bent toward the chest, holds in the hand a pear-shaped vase.

B 9551

Male statue probably incomplete at the bottom. The face is not well characterized. The hair seems collected in an headdress that surrounds part of the forehead and that ends knotted at the back with a strip running down his head. The man is naked, the anatomical details, except for the line of the chest, are not reproduced. The arms are in the same position as the female statuette (B 9550). The left leg is slightly more advanced than the right one.

B 9555

Bull paw with thick edge. This kind of bronze artifacts are considered part of monumental statue or supports of metal furnitures.

B 9634

Horse in standing position. Compact and massive body. The muscle mass is well emphasized. Leaning tail. The head is tapered with stated eyes and evident nasal cavity.


Bronze camel statuette of small dimensions, standing position. Pronounced hump, the face is made with no care for details, eyes as simple round protruding reliefs and small rough ears. Front and rear legs apart. Tail made with a small cylindrical part detached from the body.

Incense burner

Cylindrical incense burner with three paw-bull shape legs. A series of dentils and ovoli run around the body.


Discoid mirror with edge in relief. On the front side a female head, with hair parted in the middle and a hole in the upper side of the forehead, is surrounded by three concentric rings. The flat and rectangular tang is broken in its lower part.

MṢM 147

Bronze plaque with simple frame on three sides and decorated on the upper side by three geometric elements. It brings a ten lines dedicatory inscription (h. 2.5), MṢM 147.

MṢM 3696

Eagle standing, in frontal position, with open wings and paws set on a circular base. In South Arabia the image of eagle is often linked to the gods Nasr or Syn.

MṢM 5902

Cylindrical incense burner with three paw bull shape legs. The tubular handle ends with an animal head. On the upper part of the body still visible the remains of a hinge used to dock a pierced cupola lid.

MṢM 5903

Cylindrical incense burner with three bull shape paws. A couple of holes drilled the main body. The pierced lid ends in its upper side with an apical biconical porn. The geometric decorations of the lid interchange circular themes to more stylized ones, more common in the South Arabian decorative repertoire.

MṢM 6085

Bronze sword with crescent-shaped hilt. The sword MṢM 6085 along with the examples from the "warrior chief" (grave n. 3) of the necropolis of Umm Hunayka, in the wādī Ḍuraʾ site, is one of the few specimens known today.

MṢM 6638

The object restored in Pisa was composed of three elements: a bronze base, a statue in the round of a rampant horse on the top of the base, while, in the front side of it, between the second and the third band, covering the inscription, a statue in the round of an ibex bust, standing on a small rectangular pedestal projected forward.

MṢM 6738

Bell-shaped object, hollow, the bottom side is decorate by a series of rings in relief whereas the upper ridge is pierced by a series of small holes.