Striding figure with ibex horns, a raptor skin draped around the shoulders, and upturned boots
ca. 3000 B.C.
Mesopotamia or Iran
H. 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in.) W. 5.4 cm ( 2 1/8 in.)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2007
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 402
This solid-cast sculpture is one of a pair of nearly identical images of a hero or a demon wearing the upturned boots associated with highland regions, his power enhanced by the mighty horns of the ibex on his head and the body and wings of a bird of prey draped around his shoulders. It was created at the time the first cities emerged in ancient Sumer. A new world view conceived of human figures in realistic terms, through accurate proportions and highly modeled forms with distinctive features - here, the triple belt and beard that define divine beings and royalty. The blending of human and animal forms to visualize the supernatural world and perhaps to express shamanistic beliefs, however, is more characteristic of the contemporary arts of Proto-Elamite Iran, where a remarkable tradition of metalworking developed during this period.
1950, purchased by Mrs. Paul Mallon from a private collection in Baghdad and acquired by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery the same year; acquired by the Museum in 2007, purchased from Sotheby's New York, at the auction "Highlights of historic objects offered by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York", on June 7, 2007, lot 80.
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Spycket, Agnès. 1981. La statuaire du Proche-Orient ancien. Leiden, Köln: E.J. Brill, p. 49, note.
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Pittman, Holly. 2003. "Striding horned demons." In Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, exh. cat. edited by Joan Aruz, with Ronald Wallenfels. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 15b, pp. 46-48.
Sotheby's. 2007. Highlights of historic objects offered by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Spring 2007, New York, pp. 154-157.
Sotheby's. 2007. Antiquities including property of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. June 7, 2007, New York, lot 80.
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