Achaemenid Bovine Head Fragment


A finely sculpted Ancient Persian fragment, depicting a bovine’s head, rendered naturalistically with features inheriting traditional Achaemenid aesthetic traits. This fragment has been carved in the round and might have once been part of a larger statue or used as a protome. Confident, curved incisions, varying in degrees of depth and width, give a successful rendering of the bovine’s eyes, mouth and collar, which appear decorated with a nice geometric pattern. The animal’s almond-shaped eyes and the grooves-decorated strap are reminiscent of zoomorphic representations seen on Achaemenid monumental reliefs. Despite being fragmentary, the piece displays astonishingly features, testimony of the greatness in stone carving of ancient Persians.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: Circa 6th-4th Century BC
Condition: Extremely fine, with signs of ageing to the surface. The piece has been mounted on a custom-made stand for display.


SKU: HL-29 Category: Tags: ,

Having succeeded the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, inherited numerous cultural and aesthetic traditions from Mesopotamian practices, yet created an entire new genre of artefacts encompassing the charms of Assyro-Babylonian and Iranian tastes. Bovine’s iconographies, extremely common in Achaemenid art, date back to Sumerian culture. This fine example of Achaemenid sculpture echoes the monumental columns capitals decorated with foreparts of bulls, lions, and griffins, recovered from Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Depictions of bovines being attacked by lions might have been connected with Nowruz, the Persian New Year at the spring equinox, with the bull symbolising winter and the lion spring-summer.

Weight 1150 g
Dimensions L 13.1 x W 8 x H 21.3 cm


Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum, item 47.100.83.

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