During the Early Bronze Age in central Anatolia (3000–2000 B.C.), a number of nonliterate, localized cultures having little contact with urban Mesopotamia produced spectacular metal vessels, jewelry, weapons, and musical instruments to be 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.
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Credit Line:Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1955
By 1953, collection of Hans von Aulock, Istanbul; acquired by the Museum in 1955, purchased from John J. Klejman, New York.
“Art Treasures of Turkey,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, January 27, 1968–March 10, 1968.
“’Animal Style’ Art from East to West,” Asia House Gallery, New York, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 1970.
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department,” MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan, The Aiche Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya, Japan, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, 1983.
“The Golden Deer of Eurasia,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2000–2001.
Ozgüç, Tahsin, and Akok, Mahmut. 1958. Horoztepe, an Early Bronze Age Settlement and Cemetery. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, pl. XVII, 4a, b.
Harper, Prudence O. "The Second Millenium B.C." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 18 (8), Art of the Ancient Near East (Apr., 1960), p. 255, fig. 14.
Tezcan, Burhan. 1960. "New Finds From Horoztepe," Anatolia V, pl. XIX.
Orthmann, Winfried. 1967. "Zu den 'Standarten' aus Alaca Hüyük." Istanbuler Mitteilungen 17, p. 37, A13.
Muscarella, Oscar W. 1968. "Anatolia." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 26 (5), no. 2, p. 195.
Bunker, Emma C., Bruce C. Chatwin, and Ann R. Farkas. 1970. "Animal Style" Art from East to West, exh. cat. New York: Asia Society, no. 1, p. 51.
Müller-Karpe, Hermann. 1974. Handbuch der Vorgeschichte: Kupferzeit, Vol. III. Munich: Beck, pl. 315, no. 7.
de Jesus, Prentiss S. 1980. The Development of Prehistoric Mining and Metallurgy in Anatolia. BAR International Series 74: Oxford, pl. XVI: 1 a,b.
Muscarella, Oscar W. 1983. "Standard with Two Long-horned Bulls." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 99.
Doan, James E. 1983. "The Animal Style in Celtic and Thracian Art." Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 3, pp. 149-52, pl. 1.
Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, pp. 28-29, fig. 32.
Porter, Barbara A. 1986. Art of the Ancient Near East: Permanent galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no.8.
Muscarella, Oscar W. 1988. Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 402-404, no. 530.
Aruz, Joan, Ann Farkas, Andrei Alekseev, and Elena Korolkova, eds. 2000. The Golden Deer of Eurasia: Scythian and Sarmatian Treasures from the Russian Steppes, exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art,, p. 281, fig. 100.
Della Casa, Romina. 2022. "Encountering Ancient Environments: The Impact of Nonhuman Animals on Populations of Hittite Anatolia." Near Eastern Archaeology 85 (4), p. 261, fig. 4.
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