Friday, February 1, 2013

Silver/Gold Sculpture ...Bactria (c. 2000 BC)

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"Bronze Ax Head from Bactria, ca. 2000 BCE.....Bird-headed Hero , boar and dragon, c.2300-1900 BCE.....A Magnificent and Highly Important Bactrian Silver and Gold Foil Shaft.....This shaft-hole axhead is a masterpiece of three-dimensional and relief sculpture. Expertly cast in silver and gilded with gold foil, it depicts a bird-headed hero grappling with a wild boar and a winged dragon. The idea of the heroic bird-headed creature probably came from western Iran, where it is first documented on a cylinder seal impression. The hero's muscular body is human except for the bird talons that replace the hands and feet. He is represented twice, once on each side of the ax, and consequently appears to have two heads. On one side, he grasps the boar by the belly and on the other, by the tusks. The posture of the boar is contorted so that its bristly back forms the shape of the blade. With his other talon, the bird-headed hero grasps the winged dragon by the neck. The dragon, probably originating in Mesopotamia or Iran, is represented with folded wings, a feline body, and the talons of a bird of prey."......Source: Shaft-hole axhead with a bird-headed demon, boar, and dragon [Central Asia (Bactria-Margiana)] (1982.5) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Period: Bronze Age....... Date: ca. late 3rd–early 2nd millennium B.C....... Geography: Bactria-Margiana....... Culture: Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex....... Medium: Silver, gold foil

"Ancient Bactria and Margiana were areas along the Oxus and Murghab rivers in modern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. While these areas were sparsely inhabited during much of the third millennium B.C., by about 2200 B.C. permanent settlements with distinctive forms of architecture, burial practices, and material culture had been established, supported in part by active trade with parts of Iran, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley......"

"This silver-gilt shaft-hole axe is a masterpiece of three-dimensional and relief sculpture. Expertly cast and gilded with foil, it represents a bird-headed hero grappling with a wild boar and a winged dragon. The idea of the heroic bird-headed creature probably came from western Iran, where it is first documented on a cylinder seal impression. The hero's muscular body is human except for the bird talons that replace the hands and feet. He is represented twice, once on each side of the axe, and consequently appears to have two heads. On one side, he grasps the boar by the belly and on the other, by the tusks. The posture of the boar is contorted so that its bristly back forms the shape of the blade. With his other talon, the bird-headed hero grasps the winged dragon by the neck. This creature is distinguished by folded and staggered wings, a feline body, and the talons of a bird of prey in the place of his front paws. Its single horn has been broken off and lost."....http://metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/30008823?high=on&rpp=15&pg=1&rndkey=20121218&ft=*&where=Central+Asia&pos=2

"Double-headed eagles have been present in imagery for millennia. The two-headed eagle can be found in the archaeological remains of the Sumerian civilization and through the Hittite civilization, dating from a period that ranges from the 20th century BC to the 7th century BC. The Gandaberunda is another example of a myhthological two-headed bird, which is in common use in India...."

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….February 2013

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