The ENCHANTING & MODEST Biblical Character
One of the most charming and delightful marble sculptures in the collection of Salar
Jung Museum is the life size statue of ‘Veiled Rebecca”, measuring to a height of 167 cms.
Some people with poetic bent on mind say that it is “a melody in marble”. The classical
standing image was chiseled by an Italian sculptor namely Giovanni Battista Benzoni in
the second half of the 19th Century AD.
Rebekah or Rebecca, the daughter of Bethual, is a Biblical character from the Old
Testament. She appears as a woman of Beauty (24,16), Illustrious (24,19), Hospitable
(24,25), Decisive (24.57,58) making, and a Modest (24,65) woman. Her brother
succeeded in selecting a suitable match for her. Issac, the groom, son of Sarah and
Abraham. Issac was invited to house by her brother to see her for selection and
marriage. After his arrival, Rebecca was introduced to Issac. Shyness and modesty so
natural to a young woman overpowered her that she tried to hide her excitement by
drawing the veil over her face. This modest act also in a way expressed her willingness
It is this incident that G.B. Benzoni, the creator of this marvelous masterpiece, had
successfully carved in marble. The graceful pose of Rebecca itself is enough to prove the
aesthetic sensibility of the sculptor. What is most striking in the image of Rebecca is her
form which is slender, coupled with qualities of contentment and quietness The healthy,
young and vigorous form and structure of the body, her bashful looks, slender hips,
supple limbs, relaxed muscles, shapely toes, the delicate fingers, folds and wavy lines of
the drapery, all bled in a graceful plasticity. It is all in marble, and yet one hardly ever
fells that the veil is of stone.
The image of Rebecca and the round pedestal is said to have carved in single block of
stone without any joint. However the sculpture (Museum No. 100/L) is placed on a 2
round mottled brown marble. The pedestal has an inscription near her right foot, which
inform the name of the sculptor, place and year as read in G.B. BENZONI, ROMA, 1876.
--Presented here by:
112. al-Ikhlas: The Unity