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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Vessel in the form of a boar

ca. 3100–2900 B.C.
Southwestern Iran
Ceramic, paint
5.71 in. (14.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and Anonymous Gift, 1979
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 402
This ceramic vessel takes the form of a standing wild boar. The body is hollow, serving as a container, with a small round rim atop the center of the back and a hole pierced through the snout. The vessel could have been filled through the larger hole in the back while the smaller hole in the snout was held closed with a thumb, allowing the liquid to flow out once the snout was uncovered. Made of fine clay with a smoothed surface, the vessel is decorated in dark brown paint on buff-colored ceramic. The sharply angled hatching covering the vessel evokes the boar’s bristly hide, especially along the spine, where it is arranged in a vertical row. The eyes are indicated by circles with a central dot, just below the small, alertly raised ears. The split hooves and fetlocks are modeled in clay. The boar’s hunched posture lends the vessel a sense of potentially explosive movement, and reminds the viewer that wild boars are fierce animals that pose dangers to crops in the field, and to the hunters pursuing them. Similar zoomorphic, or animal-shaped, vessels are especially characteristic of the Proto-Elamite period (3100-2900 B.C.) in southwestern Iran.
[By 1978, with Mathis Komor, New York]; acquired by the Museum in 1979, purchased from Mathias Komor, New York.

“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.

Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 109 (Jul. 1,1978 - Jun. 30, 1979), pp. 20-21.

Pittman, Holly. 1979. "Vessel in the Shape of a Boar." Notable Acquisitions 1975-1979 (Metropolitan Museum of Art), pp. 9-10.

Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1983. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 34.

Bell, Joseph. 1985. Metropolitan Zoo. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 52.

Pittman, Holly, in collaboration with Joan Aruz. 1987. Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 18-19, fig. 7.
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