Spouted Vessel in the Form of a Bull
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
Ancient Iranian Ceramics
These ceramics demonstrate ancient Iranian artists’ interest in creating containers and other ritual instruments in the shape of mammals or birds. This tradition was of incredible duration, stretching back to about 3000 B.C.E. of the Neolithic period and lasting as late as the sixth century C.E. These shapes relate Iranian art to the customs of neighboring regions of Mesopotamia, Greece, and Central Asia where animal art also played an integral role.
11 x 14 3/16 x 5 7/8 in. (28 x 36 x 15 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in memory of James F. Romano
A vessel with a round body that expands to an almost spherical rump. The neck and humped shoulder rise in a single broad curving shape to a conical point behind the head whose muzzle is drawn out into a beak-like spout. A pair of round, approximately cresentic, horns rise from the sides of the head. At the base of each horn is a tiny round impressed eye and a protruding nub-like ear. A round ridge suggesting the tail curves down the hindquarters. The pronounced shoulder hump of the bull identifies it as zebu, a bovine species originating in India.
This item is not on view
Spouted Vessel in the Form of a Bull, 1200-800 B.C.E. Clay, 11 x 14 3/16 x 5 7/8 in. (28 x 36 x 15 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in memory of James F. Romano, 2015.65.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2015.65.1_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2015.65.1_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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Is that symbol for something?
The bull represents strength and masculinity. This particular bull is a zebu, a type of cattle that is still common in India. The nose of the bull has been turned into a spout. This vessel likely served a ceremonial purpose and may have even held bull's urine.