Israel Museum

The simple brushstrokes that depict five worshipers on Pithos B from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud belie this image’s complex religious meaning. The figures raise their hands in a gesture of prayer or worship. Each figure, from right to left, turns his head progressively higher, as if together they are watching an object, perhaps the sun, arcing through the sky. But the artist has not depicted the object of their gaze, suggesting they are praying to an incorporeal deity, such as Yahweh, as they gaze at the sun (the stray lines at top left are thought to be the artist’s error). An inscription on this pithos indicates that this may be the case. It reads: “I bless you by Yahweh of Teman [Edom or the “south country”] and by his asherah.”