Rhyton in the shape of a lion


Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Leiden, Netherlands

Around 1940 B.C. Assyrian merchants from North-Iraq started to establish a network of trading-posts in Anatolia. Attracted by the great amounts of natural resources, they entered into trade agreements with the numerous city-states. The most important trading-post was karum Kanesh (the larger trade-colonies were called karum), present-day Kültepe in the vicinity of Kayseri in Cappadocia.
The arrival of the Assyrian merchants brought about great changes, with different traditions starting to intermingle. This also held true for metal-work and earthenware: new types of earthenware became popular, like ritual libation vases in the shape of lions, eagles, rabbits and even snails.
This rhyton in the shape of a lion was partly restored, which gave rise to some doubts as to its authenticity at times, but research has shown that four-fifths of the object is authentic. In a few details, this specimen differs from other libation vases found in Kanesh. Probably, it hails from a settlement nearby. The lion is proudly standing upright, its legs side by side, its maw wide open. The whole body is painted red, bordered by black lines, on a yellow-orange background. The geometrical patterns are reminiscent of the Cappadocian earthenware manufactured in Anatolia around 2000 B.C.

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  • Title: Rhyton in the shape of a lion
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -1900/-1800
  • Location: Kültepe, Turkije
  • Physical Dimensions: h17.7 cm
  • Datering: 1900-1800 v.C.
  • Afmetingen: 17.7 cm
  • Type: rhyton
  • External Link: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Medium: earthenware