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


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.