Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pair of bird-shaped handles

Period:
Iron Age II
Date:
ca. 9th century B.C.
Geography:
Iran, Hasanlu
Culture:
Iran
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
H. 4 1/4 x W. 3 15/16 in. (10.8 x 10 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Vessels
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mrs. Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff Gift, 1961
Accession Number:
61.100.3a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 404
These handles were once fixed, each by three rivets, to a hammered bronze shallow bowl or basin. They are in the form of stylized long-necked birds with outstretched wings and tail; a fixed rectangular handle rises from the wing tips. Each bird head, which faced out from the bowl, projects slightly forward, with a herringbone pattern on the beak and neck, and the eyes etched in simple concentric circles. The wings and tails are decorated by incised herringbone patterns to suggest separate feathers. Such bird-head protome attachments are represented in Near Eastern art in the round on buckets and cauldrons as well as on bowls and basins. They were popular in Assyria and Iran during the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.
1960, excavated by Robert H. Dyson Jr. on behalf of the Hasanlu Project sponsored by the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, the Archaeological Service of Iran, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art; acquired by the Museum in 1961, as a result of its financial contribution to the excavations.

“Archaeology: Exploring the Past,” The Junior Museum of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 22, 1962–June 30, 1966.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department,” MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan, The Aiche Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya, Japan, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, 1983.

Crawford, Vaughn E. 1961. “Hasanlu 1960.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 20, p. 93, fig. 9.

Muscarella, Oscar W. 1983. "Hasanlu." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 55.

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. 27-28, no. 6a, b.

de Schauensee, Maude. 1988. "Northwest Iran as a Bronzeworking Centre: The View from Hasanlu." Bronzeworking Centres of Western Asia c. 1000-539 B.C., edited by John Curtis. London and New York: Kegan Paul International, p. 50, pl. 23.

Rakic, Yelena ed. 2010. Discovering the Art of the Ancient Near East: Archaeological Excavations Supported by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931–2010. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (1), Summer 2010, p. 37.
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