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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Western Asiatic Zoomorphic Vessel with Stopper Lid

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LOT 0215

GBP (£) 18,000 - 24,000
EUR (€) 20,930 - 27,900
USD ($) 25,250 - 33,660

Opening Bid
£18,000 (EUR 20,925; USD 25,246) (+bp*)

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Western Asiatic Zoomorphic Vessel with Stopper Lid

1st millennium BC

A hollow-formed bronze figurine of a zebu with impressed eyes, crescent horns, socket between the shoulders with separate lid, loops for attachment cords. 862 grams total, 18cm (7"). Very fine condition.

Property of a gentleman living in central London; previously with Bonhams, New Bond Street, London, 1 May 2013, lot 154; formerly in a private New York collection, acquired in 1987; 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.10717-175402.

See a statuette of a zebu in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 64.7; for the iconography see Vats, M.S., Excavations at Harappā. In two volumes with plans and plates. V. II. 139 Plates, Delhi, 1940; Winkelmann, S., ‘Transformation of Near Eastern animal motifs in Murghabo-Bactrian Bronze Age art’ in Peruzzetto A. et al. Animals, Gods and Men from East to West. Papers on archaeology and history in honour of Roberta Venco Ricciardi, Eds. BAR International Series 2516, 2013, pp.47–64.

The majestic zebu bull, with its heavy dewlap and wide curving horns, was considered to be a symbol of majesty and power since the first civilizations of the Indus Valley. It was the leader of the herd, the strength and virility (then symbol of fecundity) of which protected the group and ensured the procreation of the species. This is the reason why it was often chosen for sacrificial rites. It probably represented the emblem of the most powerful clans or top classes of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa and it was the most impressive motif found in these cities, appearing constantly on painted pottery and bronze or clay figurines of the Indus area.