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Bull Statuette or Finial

One of the oldest sculptures in the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection, this jewel-sized bull is also one of the smallest. Its elegant design simplifies bovine characteristics, but nevertheless incorporates remarkably naturalistic features. Bulls held important ritual significance in many ancient cultures and were especially popular in the region of Anatolia (modern Turkey). In many examples the head of the bull is enlarged for emphasis, but in this piece it is extraordinarily large. This may indicate, along with the tapering body and the small size, that this bull was designed as the finial for a large pin. If so, it was probably worn on a prestigious ceremonial garment.

Hattian or Early Hittite (Anatolia)
Bull Statuette or Finial
ca. 2500–2000 BC
Solid-cast gold
H. 1 in. (2.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Leo Mildenberg in honor of Burton Y. Berry, 2001.12