Gold terminal in the form of a bull's head

British Museum

British Museum

This slightly crushed object was made from thin raised sheet with two pairs of six applied double hemispheres, each arranged in a circle, to represent the ears, seven double-hemispheres made in the same way were added around the hollow muzzle and tufts (each made as a double-hemisphere attached to the top of short cylinders) added along the top of the head. The back was originally flat and was applied as a second sheet, but was torn in antiquity; it may have had a small square aperture, some 1.5 cm. across, in the centre to allow it to be attached. The eye stones are of circular banded agate with a pale grey lower stratum and dark brown pupil and were set in cloisons made separately and sunk into the sheet metal. An ear made of folded gold sheet remains behind the right horn. There was a very similar gold bull’s head in the former collection of a Parsi merchant resident in Aden called Kaiky Muncherjee (1873-1955), and which is largely said to have largely derived from sites in the Wadi Markha region of southern Yemen. The exaggerated folds of skin around the muzzle and eyes of these objects are nevertheless a very characteristic feature of ancient South Arabian depictions of bulls, regardless of size or medium.

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  • Title: Gold terminal in the form of a bull's head
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 5.02cm; Width: 3.34cm; Depth: 1.44cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: inlaid; granulation
  • Subject: mammal
  • Registration number: 1977,0226.2
  • Production place: Made in Yemen
  • Place: Found/Acquired Bayhan
  • Period/culture: Ancient South Arabian
  • Material: gold; onyx
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Wright, Nicholas


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