Winning Bid: $3,250
Rare / Published Greek Geometric Bronze Bull
**Originally Listed At $5000**
Italic or Greek, Geometric period, ca. 8th to 7th century BCE. An incredibly rare, double-headed, leaded bronze bull, finely cast via the lost wax (cire perdue) process. Notice a suspension loop, now filled with deposits; this suggests that this piece may have been used as a weight as well as a votive. Animals were very popular motifs in the Geometric period, and small bronze figures were given as votive offerings at temples, and bull figures were oftentimes given as offerings at the Temple of Zeus of Olympia. Size: 3.25″ W x 1.75″ H (8.3 cm x 4.4 cm)
Interestingly, a few centuries after this piece was created, the Apadana palace in Persepolis (ca. 520 to 465 BCE) featured column capitals with animals in the form of twin-headed bulls as well as eagles and lions. All of these animals symbolized power, virility, and by extension royal authority.
We look to the Geometric period (ca. 900 to 700 BCE) for the roots of Classical Greek civilization as well as the mythos that much of Western culture is built upon. This was when Homer composed the Iliad and the Odyssey, and when graves full of rich and rare metal objects alongside the monumental kraters that served as grave markers told the story of warriors riding into battle in chariots for heroic (or sometimes villainous) rulers. Beyond the world of warfare and kings, the common people engaged in a difficult agricultural cycle whose vagaries led people to worship with cults dedicated to gods. Artistic figures like this one show a strong command of form and shape, and the ability of artists at this time to create instantly recognizable representations with relatively minimalist forms. The existence of votive figures demonstrates that farmers placed their trust in and prayed to the gods for help.