Head and Neck of Bull
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
Ancient Iranian Ceramics
These ceramics demonstrate ancient Iranian artists’ interest in creating containers and other ritual instruments in the shape of mammals or birds. This tradition was of incredible duration, stretching back to about 3000 B.C.E. of the Neolithic period and lasting as late as the sixth century C.E. These shapes relate Iranian art to the customs of neighboring regions of Mesopotamia, Greece, and Central Asia where animal art also played an integral role.
ca. 1000-600 B.C.E.
height: 12 13/16 in. (32.5 cm)
base width: 10 1/4 in. (26 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in memory of James F. Romano
A simplified bull's head that tapers to a round flat muzzle whose disk-like rim and large circular nostrils give the head a porcine appearance. The broad flat forehead, the broken stubs of curving horns and protruding ears, and the sharp edge of the jaw emphasize the bovine character of the animal. In keeping with the simplified style of the whole, the eyes have large circular rims and somewhat hemispherical centers. The tapering, almost conical neck has regular ridges that run diagonally across the sides of the neck. These ridges meet under the neck in a slight v with a vertical undulating flange that indicates the dewlap. The back of the neck is smooth.
This item is not on view
Head and Neck of Bull, ca. 1000-600 B.C.E. Clay, height: 12 13/16 in. (32.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in memory of James F. Romano, 2015.65.29. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2015.65.29_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2015.65.29_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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What would this have been used for?
This bull's head is a section of a ceramic sculpture. Similar bull, lion, and griffin sculptures in ceramic are known to have been used as guardians of gateways by the Elamite people.
Can you tell me about this?
This head would have been part of a full-body, terracotta sculpture of a bull! Similar statues were used as temple and gate door guardians at Susa which was the capital of Elam, and ancient civilization that existed in modern day Iran.
Tell me more.
This bull's head is a secton of a ceramic sculpture that would have been used as guardians of gateways by the Elamite people.
I love the textural ribbing around the neck of the sculpture. They meet in the front to creatte a undulating skin flap that represents the bull's dewlap, an actual anatomical feature.