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Home > Auctions > 24th November 2020 > Western Asiatic Bactrian Goblet with Sacred Bulls

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LOT 0284

GBP (£) 25,000 - 35,000
EUR (€) 27,530 - 38,550
USD ($) 32,430 - 45,400

Opening Bid
£22,500 (EUR 24,780; USD 29,186) (+bp*)

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Western Asiatic Bactrian Goblet with Sacred Bulls

3rd-2nd millennium BC

A dark grey-black steatite vessel with everted rim and circular foot with surrounding basal ring; outer face with three standing bulls facing left, each unique in detail; rows of square panels enclosing the same geometric design to circumference. 751 grams, 13.7cm (5 1/2"). Fine condition, rim chiped.

Condition report [Click to show]

Property of a central London gentleman; previously with Mahboubian Gallery of Ancient Art, New York; acquired from Gallery Rosen Ancient Art, New York, USA; accompanied by a copy of the purchase invoice for $30,000, dated 28 November 1968 and five old museum-quality photographs; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10167-166843.
See Aruz, J., edn., Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium from the Mediterranean to the Indus, New York, 2003, for comparable examples and discussion.
Bactria shares with Indus Valley, Anatolia and Minoan Crete a religious cult of the sacred bull in which it was customary for feats of acrobatic leaping over the beast's back or shoulders to be performed. A fresco at the Great Palace at Knossos, Crete, shows female dancers attempting this feat, while ivory figurines from the same site depict the rite in three dimensions. Depictions of similar activities appear on Sumerian cylinder seals, and there is speculation that the modern French custom of course landaise is a continuation of the practice.