North central Anatolia
H. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1955 (55.137.5)
During the Early Bronze Age in Central Anatolia (30002000 B.C.), a number of nonliterate, discrete cultures with little contact with urban Mesopotamia produced spectacular metal vessels, jewelry, weapons, and musical instruments; there were buried with their rulers. This pair of long-horned bulls probably served as a finial for a religious or ceremonial standard. Cast separately, they are held together by extensions of their front and back legs, bent around the plinth. A pierced tang at the base suggests that the pair was connected to another object. The bulls' elaborate curving horns are half again as long as their bodies and, though impossible in nature, constitute an effective stylistic convention. The tendency to emphasize important features in the representation of animals is a common motif in ancient Near Eastern art.