The bull, a symbol of strength and potency but also a fundamental animal for human survival, was a popular decorative motif in Ancient Greece, painted on walls or vases, carved in intaglios or cast in gold to adorn jewellery pieces. Bronze bull’s heads attachments were also used to decorated tripods, which were originally produced in Cyprus, and then exported to mainland Greece and Etruria. Bronze statuettes of bulls, would have been placed as votive offerings in temples and shrines.
Archaic Greek Bronze Statuette of a Bull
An extremely fine Archaic Greek hollow cast bronze statuette, representing a bull. The animal is portrayed recumbent, with its legs folded beneath the body, the head slightly turned to the left, and his mouth wide open. The animal’s anatomical features have been rendered in a stylised manner, with almond-shaped and wide-open eyes, displaying Near Eastern and Eastern Greek influences. The animal’s neck features ribbed, incised bands, possibly representing the neck’s folds of flesh, or a rings collar. A piercing to the back of the animal might suggest that the piece would have either been part of a larger composition, or attached to something.
Provenance: From a Mayfair gallery, 1986; previously with Pierre Berge & Associes, Archeologie, Paris, 2nd February 2017, lot 248.
Condition: Extremely fine, beautiful green and brown patina to the surface.