Standard with two long-horned bulls

Early Bronze Age III
ca. 2300–2000 B.C.
Central Anatolia
Copper alloy
H. 6 1/4 x W. 5 3/4in. (15.9 x 14.6cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1955
Accession Number:
  • Description

    During the Early Bronze Age in central Anatolia (3000–2000 B.C.), a number of nonliterate, localized cultures having little contact with urban Mesopotamia produced spectacular metal vessels, jewelry, weapons, and musical instruments to be buried with their rulers.

    This pair of long-horned bulls probably served as a finial for a religious or ceremonial standard. Cast separately, they are held together by extensions of their front and back legs, bent around the plinth. A pierced tang at the base suggests that the pair was connected to another object. The bulls' elaborate, curving horns are half again as long as their bodies, and though impossible in nature, constitute an effective stylistic convention. The tendency to emphasize important features in the representation of animals is a common motif in ancient Near Eastern art.

  • Provenance

    By 1953, collection of Hans von Aulock, Istanbul; acquired by the Museum in 1955, purchased from John J. Klejman, New York.

  • References

    Ozgüç, Tahsin, and Mahmut Akok. 1958. Horoztepe, an Early Bronze Age Settlement and Cemetery. Türk Tarih Kurumu yayınlarından V. dizi; sa. 18a. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, pl. XVII: 4a,b.

    Oliver, Prudence. "The Second Millenium B.C." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 18 (8), Art of the Ancient Near East (Apr., 1960), p. 255, fig. 14.

    Tezcan, Burhan. 1960. "New Finds From Horoztepe," Anatolia 5, pp. 13-46 (Turkish and English), pp. 33f, pl. XIX.

    Orthmann, Winfried. 1967. "Zu den 'Standarten' aus Alaca Hüyük." Istanbuler Mitteilungen 17, p. 37, A13.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1968. "Anatolia." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 26 (5), no. 2, p. 195.

    Bunker, Emma C., Bruce C. Chatwin, and Ann R. Farkas. 1970. "Animal Style" Art from East to West, exh. cat. New York: Asia Society, no. 1, p. 51.

    Müller-Karpe, Hermann. 1974. Handbuch der Vorgeschichte: Kupferzeit, Vol. III. Munich: Beck, pl. 315, no. 7.

    de Jesus, Prentiss S. 1980. The Development of Prehistoric Mining and Metallurgy in Anatolia. BAR International Series 74. Oxford, pl. XVI: 1 a,b.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1983. In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 99.

    Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, pp. 28-29, fig. 32.

    Porter, Barbara A. 1986. Art of the Ancient Near East: Permanent galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no.8.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1988. Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 402-404, no. 530.

    Marsadolov, Leonid. 2000. In The Golden Deer of Eurasia: Scythian and Sarmatian Treasures from the Russian Steppes, exh. cat. edited by Joan Aruz, Ann Farkas, Andrei Alekseev, and Elena Korolkova. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 281, fig. 100.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History