Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Old Blue

[Bearded Bull’s Head. Sumerian, Early Dynastic III Period, 2600–2450 BCE. Copper with lapis lazuli and shell inlay. Saint Louis Art Museum.]

The museum card says,

This bull’s head is made from solid copper, an extremely costly and valuable material in antiquity. It was likely part of an architectural element, such as a lintel over door, since it is too heavy to be a furniture embellishment. The bull was commonly associated with a storm god, whose control of weather and thunder was imagined as a great bull roaring across the sky. As an embodiment of power and fertility, the bearded bull served as a symbol of divine protection and royal might throughout ancient Near Eastern art.
Mighty, yes. But such a plaintive face! I think of Blake’s tyger: mighty, but.

You can see this bull on the Museum’s website. He’s much bluer in person.

[About the post title: see here, listen here.]

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