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

Description

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.

Related