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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Bactrian Standing Zebu Figurine

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LOT 0216

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,470 - 4,620
USD ($) 4,160 - 5,550

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£3,000 (EUR 3,469; USD 4,165) (+bp*)

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Bactrian Standing Zebu Figurine

3rd-2nd millennium BC

A copper-alloy figure of a zebu with prominent horns and dorsal hump, large dewlap and detailed almond-shaped eyes; mounted on a custom-made display stand. 370 grams total, 12cm including stand (4 3/4"). Fine condition.

Property of a gentleman living in central London; acquired on the London art market in 1963; accompanied by an archaeological expertise by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10715-175403.

See a statuette of a zebu in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 64.7; see Levine, E., Bunimovitz, S., Lederman Z., ‘A Zebu-Shaped Weight from Tel Beth-Shemesh’ in Israel Exploration Journal, vol. 61, no.2, 2011, pp.146-161, for discussion on the iconography of zebu; Pugachenkova, G.A., Dar, S.R., Sharma, R.C., Joyenda, M.A., Kushan Art in the North, Unesco, 1996.

Since the dawn of time, the bull has represented power, strength and nobility. This splendid votive and unusually large statuette depicts a zebu, the hump-backed bull common to Asian regions (bos indicus). The tradition of casting single bronze figurines of zebu, marked the culture of Marlik similar to the civilization of Mature Harappa, where a similar statuette was found in Mohenjodaro. The custom of the creators of Marlik Tepe to put images of humpback bulls and especially ritual vessels for libation in the form of a zebu into the graves directly connects Marlikians with Late Harappan inhabitants of the North-West of South Asia. The tradition of casting paired bronze statuettes of zebu teams, characteristic of the Marlikians, is also directly reflected in Late Harappan finds of the North-West of South Asia. A bronze composition of two zebus supporting a platform with a kneeling woman on it comes from Uttar Pradesh (2000-1750 BC). When drawing parallels between the archaeological culture of Marlik and Harappa, it should be pointed out that it is in Iranian Azerbaijan that the pure-blooded species of zebu, which are still very similar to the rock breeds of humped cattle of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan, were found so far.