Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Vessel terminating in the forepart of a bull

Period:
Hittite Empire
Date:
ca. 14th–13th century B.C.
Geography:
Central Anatolia
Culture:
Hittite
Medium:
Silver
Dimensions:
7.09 x 5.04 x 8.46 in. (18.01 x 12.8 x 21.49 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Vessels
Credit Line:
Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.281.11
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 403
This silver horn-shaped drinking vessel (rhyton) is shaped in the form of a bull. The animal is in a kneeling posture and is fashioned from two pieces of silver joined by a grooved collar. The head, with its short neck, is massive and strong; the nose and the oval eyes and brows that once held inlays were all sculpted with great sensitivity. The bull's cheeks and jowls are formed from petal-like ridges while further repoussé musculature decorates the body above the legs and shoulders. The chest has a prominent dewlap with horizontal undulations, which suggests folds of skin. These characteristics of modeling and decoration can be seen in representations of other Hittite bulls dating from around 1300 B.C. Because Hittite texts describe their gods as being given their own drinking vessels made in the form of their animal counterparts, it is plausible to assume that this vessel was the property of the Hittite storm god Teshub with whom the bull was associated.
[Informally said to be on the art market in Istanbul]; [by 1965, Egon Beckenbauer, Munich]; by 1966, collection of Norbert Schimmel, New York; from 1983, on loan to the Museum by Norbert Schimmel (L.1983.119.2); acquired by the Museum in 1989, gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust.

“Ancient Art. The Norbert Schimmel Collection,” Cleveland Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1974-1977.

“Von Troja bis Amarna: The Norbert Schimmel Collection New York,” Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, 1978-1979.

“Ancient Art: Gifts from the Norbert Schimmel Collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 4, 1991–September 15, 1991.

“Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 17, 2008–March 15, 2009.

Muscarella, Oscar W., ed. 1974. Ancient Art: The Norbert Schimmel Collection. Mainz: Philipp Von Zabern, no. 124.

Bittel, Kurt. 1975. Beitrag zur Kenntnis hethitischer Bildkunst: Vorgetragen am 21 Juni 1975. Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Jahrgang 1976, Bericht 4. Heidelberg: Carl Winter-Universitätverlag, fig. 2a-c, pp. 9ff.

Muscarella, Oscar W. 1975. "The Norbert Schimmel Collection." Art News, January 1975, pp. 74-75.

Bittel, Kurt. 1976. Die Hethiter : die Kunst Anatoliens vom Ende des 3. bis zum Anfang des 1. Jahrtausends v. Chr. Verlag C.H. Beck. Munich: C.H. Beck, fig. 178, p. 165.

Bittel, Kurt. 1976. Les Hittites. Paris: Gallimard, p. 165, fig. 178.

"Learning." The New Yorker, March 29, 1976.

Settgast, Jürgen, ed. 1978. Von Troja bis Amarna: The Norbert Schimmel Collection New York. Mainz: Philipp Von Zabern, no. 134.

Mellaart, James. 1978. The Archaeology of Ancient Turkey. London: The Bodley Head Ltd., pp. 64-65.

Güterbock, Hans G. 1983. "Hethitische Götterbilder und Kultobjekte." In Beiträge zur Altertumskunde und Kleinasiens: Festschrift für Kurt Bittel, edited by R.M. Boehmer and H. Hauptmann, vol. 1. Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern, p. 213, 217.

Dalley, Stephanie. 1984. Mari and Karana: Two Old Babylonian Cities. London and New York: Longman, pp. 59-61, fig. 27.

Muscarella, Oscar W. 1992. "Vessel terminating in the forepart of a bull." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49 (4), Ancient Art: Gifts from the Norbert Schimmel Collection (Spring 1992), no. 15, p. 54.

Emre, Kutlu and Aykut Çinaroglu. 1993. “A Group of Metal Hittite Vessels from Kinik-Kastamonu.” In Aspects of Art and Iconography: Anatolia and its Neighbors. Studies in Honor of Nimet Özgüç, edited by Machteld J. Mellink, Edith Porada, and Tahsin Özgüç. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, p. 702.

de Lapérouse, Jean-François. 2008. "Bull-Shaped Vessel." In Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millenium B.C., edited by Joan Aruz, Kim Benzel and Jean M. Evans. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 109, pp. 183-184.
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