A Bronze Hand
An inscribed bronze hand, given as an offering to the god Ta’lab Riyam in a temple in Ancient Yemen, pre-dating the arrival of Islam in the Arabian peninsula in 622 AD.
This right hand was probably a symbol of good fortune, to ward off evil, and also a gesture of honour to the deity.
This hand was dedicated by a man called Wahabta’lab for his well being.
Wahabta’lab son of
Hisam, [the] Yursamite, subject
of the Banu Sukhavm. Has dedicated to their patron
Ta’lab Riyam this right hand
in his memorial dhu-Qabrat
In the city of Zafar, for his well being.
It probably comes from the Yemeni highlands. During this period, the kingdom of Himyar was gaining strength in the highlands and battling for power with the kingdom of Saba.
In time the Himyarites would unite the whole of ancient Yemen and control the valuable trade frankincense and myrrh between the Roman Empire and India overseas.