Winged deity

Period: Hittite Empire

Date: ca. 14th–13th century B.C.

Geography: Anatolia

Culture: Hittite

Medium: Bronze, gold

Dimensions: 1.61 x 0.71 in. (4.09 x 1.8 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund and Michael Ward Gift, 1990

Accession Number: 1990.255


This sculpture is a rare representation of a winged god in the Hittite pantheon. Less than two inches in height, the bronze deity wears a round cap, covered partially with gold leaf, and a short kilt. He has long hair and upturned feet or shoes. In his right hand he holds a rod, partly destroyed, which could have terminated in the curve of a scimitar or a hieroglyphic symbol. Emerging from the god's shoulders are sickle-shaped wings, the left broken at what is possibly the place of an ancient repair. The figurine belongs to a group of miniature representations of Hittite deities, including the weather god, the sun goddess, and war gods. Made of bronze, gold, and silver, they may have been amulets to be worn or votive dedications to be placed in shrines. Among Hittite texts are lists of offerings to deities during local festivals, which include small statuettes, some described as winged and holding hieroglyphic symbols. The best evidence for the identification of the figurine comes from the open-air sanctuary at Yazilikaya, near Bogazkoy in central Anatolia, where images of the Hittite pantheon were carved in the rock walls of its natural chambers. Among the depictions of gods in procession is one with upraised wings, wearing a cap, kilt, and belt, and with arms bent as if holding a weapon. According to an inscription, he is the god Pirinki/ar, a deity associated with the winged divinity Ishtar.