Rectangular Bottle on a Two-Headed Horse
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. 800-600 B.C.E.
height: 7 1/2 in. (19 cm)
length: 5 1/8 in. (13 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in memory of James F. Romano
The body of the bottle is square in section, rising to a tubular neck with a broad square rim. The circular mouth of the bottle is very small in comparison to the rim. The sides of the bottle are decorated with a sharply incised pattern of upward pointing chevrons linked by a central line. The bottle sits on the flat bench-like back of the horse whose slab-like forequarters are ornamented with another set of chevrons. The forequarters support two long, square-sectioned necks with small rounded heads whose only distinguishing elements are vaguely indicated ears. A curving handle arches from the back of the bottle to the back of the horse(s). The flat forms of the body, neck and legs suggest that the figure was built of clay slabs rather than modeled with rolls or coils. In contrast to the angular forms of the rest of the vessel, the tapered round tail curves up to touch the back.
This item is not on view
Rectangular Bottle on a Two-Headed Horse, ca. 800-600 B.C.E. Clay, height: 7 1/2 in. (19 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in memory of James F. Romano, 2015.65.30. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2015.65.30_PS11.jpg)
overall, 2015.65.30_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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I’d like to learn more about these please.
These vessels represent a few different cultures and time periods of ancient Iran. They're all made using different techniques. Elaborate vessels like these would have served ceremonial functions.
The one that I find most fascinating is the double-headed horse vase to the left. It comes from Northern Iran or Azerbaijan from a culture known as Urartu. Horses were important in Urartu because that was their main means of transportation and because the Urartians made their money by controlling trade routes.
Tell me more.
Angular vessels like this were popular with the people of Urartu who lived in what is now northern Iran and the Caucasus region. It would have been constructed using slabs of clay rather than coils.
A vessel this small was likely used for cosmetics of perfumes.
Thank you!!! Really appreciate the opportunity to ask questions!