This statue or Kouros is probably a standard representation of the "rock-birth of Mithras" in which the cave-born sun god is depicted emerging naked from a snake-entwined rock with a torch in one hand, a dagger in the other, and a Phrygian cap on his head. Traditionally, the date of this event has been December 25 - or Christmas day.
(Feb 11, 08). Also compare with Islam: a standard motif on all coins minted by the Mithridates ("given by Mithras") dynasty is a crescent and star.
" ... and on the same coins of all the sovereigns of the Pontic dynasty, in spite of the succession of kings and of the variety of types, there is regularly produced the crescent with the star, associated with the sword of Perseus."
Franz Cumont (1945), cited in David Ulansey's "The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries." at pg.38 (1989)
According to Cumont, the crescent and star represents the fifth grade of initiation (out of seven) into the mysteries of Mithras.
The stages were: 1. Corax (Raven); 2. Nymphus (Bride); 3. Miles (Soldier); 4.Leo (Lion); 5. Perses (Persian); 6. Heliodromus (Sun bearer) and 7. Pater (Father)
The Vani show continues from March 12 to June 1, 2008 at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.