A MESOPOTAMIAN BRONZE FIGURE OF A BULL CALF - For Sale
A MESOPOTAMIAN BRONZE FIGURE OF A BULL CALF
Early Dynastic III; c. 2600-2300 B.C.
The calf stands statically on all four legs, the front right leg slightly in front of the left, the two back legs parallel, with a large tail curved over and resting on his back. The muzzle of the calf is clearly defined as are the protruding ears and slightly downward turned horns. The eyes are incised and each pupil is delineated by a small dot. Incision is also used to mark the ribs of the animal and can be clearly seen on the left side of its body. On an integral plinth.
Calves and bovines were sacred as associated with the goddess Ninhursaga during most of Mesopotamian history. Ninhursaga was directly associated with the fecundity of animals, especially livestock. One of the translations of her name is in fact “mother birth hut”, associating her with procreation as well as the place where birth takes place, thereby making the calf a most appropriate symbol. This piece is extremely similar to larger scale cast copper figures of bulls which appear on her temple at Tell Al’-Ubaid.