Striding figure with ibex horns, a raptor skin draped around the shoulders, and upturned boots

Period: Proto-Elamite

Date: ca. 3000 B.C.

Geography: Mesopotamia or Iran

Culture: Proto-Elamite

Medium: Copper alloy

Dimensions: H. 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in.) W. 5.4 cm ( 2 1/8 in.)

Classification: Metalwork-Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2007

Accession Number: 2007.280


This solid-cast sculpture is one of a pair of nearly identical images of a hero or a demon wearing the upturned boots associated with highland regions, his power enhanced by the mighty horns of the ibex on his head and the body and wings of a bird of prey draped around his shoulders. It was created at the time the first cities emerged in ancient Sumer. A new world view conceived of human figures in realistic terms, through accurate proportions and highly modeled forms with distinctive features - here, the triple belt and beard that define divine beings and royalty. The blending of human and animal forms to visualize the supernatural world and perhaps to express shamanistic beliefs, however, is more characteristic of the contemporary arts of Proto-Elamite Iran, where a remarkable tradition of metalworking developed during this period.