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LOT 0038

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 7,000 - 9,330
USD ($) 7,740 - 10,320

Opening Bid
£3,600 (EUR 4,200; USD 4,643) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Large Greek Fountain Head with Bull

5th-3rd century BC

A bronze fountain piece with vertical stem and two tubular inlets, outlet representing a bull's head with crescent horns and flap to the underside. 4.9 kg, 33cm (13"). Very fine condition, crack to shaft.

Property of a Dutch gentleman; formerly in an old collection formed in the 1970s; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no. 143087-10003.

Bovines played an important role in Greek daily life as well as featuring prominently in Greek culture. The power and aggression of the beast coupled with its formidable size made it command at the very least cautious respect, and sometimes outright dread. Perhaps foremost among the fearsome examples is the 'Cretan Bull' (Κρὴς ταῦρος) which wrought havoc on the island in its destructive rampaging, until Herakles was despatched to capture it as the seventh of his legendary Twelve Labours. This bull had previously sired an offspring on Pasiphaë, the wife of the Cretan king Minos, as a punishment for the king's greed and deceit over sacrifices to the gods. The offspring is the half-man, half-bull creature called the Minotaur which was imprisoned in a maze beneath the palace of Minos until Theseus slew it and in doing so won the hand of Ariadne. Both Herakles and Theseus were regarded as founders of political unions, the Dorians and Athenians respectively, with strong links to the cult of the bull.
Fountains and water-spouts were used in the ancient world to demonstrate civic power: the provision of clean drinking water for public use was a demonstration of the paternal care of the state for its citizens. Spouts fashioned as animals were a popular feature, perhaps intended to imbue the water with enhanced powers of nourishment and healing.

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 25th November 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 26th November 2019 (Day 1)
Lots 1-660 (Antiquities)

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

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