Temple rituals during the Early Dynastic period included making offerings of food, drink, and probably incense to the gods. This stand, with four rings supported by a magnificent ibex, would have supported lamps or bowls holding offerings or incense and may have been used in temple or in banquet rituals.
This stand was made by a sophisticated method of metalwork known as the lost-wax technique. The desired image was sculpted in wax and surrounded with clay that hardened into a mold when baked. When the mold was fired, the wax was melted and "lost," leaving a negative space that corresponded to the wax image. Molten metal was then poured into the cavity to form a reproduction of the original wax model.
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Title:Vessel stand with ibex support
Period:Early Dynastic III
Date:ca. 2600–2350 BCE
Medium:Copper alloy, inlaid with shell and lapis lazuli
[By 1950, Elias David, New York]; 1969-1974, Mrs. Elias S. David; acquired by the Museum in 1974, purchased from Mrs. Elias S. David, New York.
“Patterns of Collecting: Selected Acquisitions 1965–1975,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.
“Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 8–August 17, 2003.
“Noah’s Beasts: Sculpted Animals from Ancient Mesopotamia,” Morgan Library & Museum, New York, May 26, 2017–August 27, 2017.
Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 105 (Jul. 1,1974 - Jun. 30, 1975), p. 42.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1975. Notable Acquisitions: 1965-1975. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 40.
Hibbard, Howard. 1980. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Harper and Row, p. 50, fig. 102.
Moorey, P.R.S. 1982. "The Archaeological Evidence for Metallurgy and Related Technologies in Mesopotamia, c. 5500-2100 B.C." Iraq 44 (1), p. 28, pl. Ib.
Harper, Prudence O. 1983. In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, fig. 9.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1983. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, edited by Kathleen Howard. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 52, fig. 17.
Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, p. 44, fig. 60.
Porter, Barbara A. 1986. Art of the Ancient Near East: Permanent Galleries in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 1.
Muscarella, Oscar W. 1988. Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 333, no. 467.
Porada, Edith. 1990. "Animal Subjects of the Ancient Near Eastern Artist." In Investigating Artistic Environments in the Ancient Near East, edited by Ann C. Gunter. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, p. 78 fig. 9.
Gunter, Ann. 1998. "A Zoomorphic Vessel Stand in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery." In Essays on Ancient Anatolian and Syrian Studies in the Second Millennium B.C. edited by H.I.H. Prince Takahito Mikasa. Bulletin of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan 4. Wiesbaden : O. Harrassowitz, p. 156, fig. 6, 7.
Lapérouse, Jean-François de. "Vessel stand with ibex support." In Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, exh. cat. edited by Joan Aruz, with Ronald Wallenfels. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 40, pp. 81-82.
Benzel, Kim, Sarah B. Graff, Yelena Rakic, and Edith W. Watts. 2010. Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, image 6, pp. 62-63.
Goldstein, Sidney. 2013. "The Bronze Age in the Ancient Near, Art of the 4th through 2nd Millennium BCE." In Splendors of the Ancient East: Antiquities from The al-Sabah Collection. London: Thames and Hudson, p. 22, fig. 1.
Babcock, Sidney. 2017. Noah's Beasts: Sculpted Animals from Ancient Mesopotamia ca. 3300-2250 BC. New York: Morgan Library and Museum, pp. 14-15.
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