Hittite, but found in Egypt (reputedly in Mit Rahinah near Memphis), dating to the Late 2nd millennium B.C. This is a magnificent head of a bull, made of black stone, rendered in a slightly stylized way with short, tapering horns, long ears, large oval eyes with multiple ridges above them and a slightly open mouth, displaying the teeth. The back of the head is flat but from the composition it is clear that the animal had a massive and strong neck. Of note, one of the main gods in the Hittite pantheon was the weather and storm god Teshub. The bull, always a symbol of strength and fertility himself and also being associated with roar and thunder and with the storm, was the sacred animal of the storm god. Sometimes there were two bulls, carrying the god or pulling his chariot as he travelled across the mountains. These bulls, called Sheri and Hurri, were not only considered divine, but received offerings themselves. It is known that statues of bulls, standing on altars or pedestals, were worshipped. Custom mount. Head itself measures 3-1/2"L (9 cm) x just under 3"W (7.5 cm) x 3-1/2"H (9 cm); with base 7-1/2"H (19 cm), intact with only some minimal damage to the underside neck, just above the base.
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ProvenanceEx-private Dutch Collection; previously with Christie’s London, sale 9599 of 13 May 2003, lot 288.
Late 2nd millennium B.C.
Dimensions 3-1/2"L (9 cm) x just under 3"W (7.5 cm) x 3-1/2"H (9 cm)