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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Harness Fitting in the Form of a Bird of Prey
Work Type
6th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Anatolia
Iron Age
Central Asian
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
3.5 x 2.2 x 0.4 cm (1 3/8 x 7/8 x 3/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Bronze:
Cu, 91.82; Sn, 3.31; Pb, 4.49; Zn, 0.005; Fe, 0.01; Ni, 0.1; Ag, 0.05; Sb, 0.06; As, 0.14; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.013; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is dark green, and there are areas of dark brown where the green has worn away. There is no red layer under the green layer. The surfaces are considerably worn, as if it was often handled after excavation. Small striations in some areas are from cleaning rather than original fabrication.

The object is a solid cast, probably from a wax model. The simple shapes could have been formed directly in the wax or in a mold. The eyes where formed or at least enhanced using a punch. The claws may also have been cold worked.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Bernheimer
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This harness fitting is in the shape of a stylized bird, standing frontally with wings spread (1). Two vertical loop attachments (c. 1 cm in diameter) emerge from the back. The bird is rendered simply, with minimal details. Its eyes are slightly raised domes with circles incised around them, and it has a parrot-like beak (2). Its wings are simple parabolas. It has a prominent, rounded breast that narrows toward the feet, which are depicted separately, with three raised lines on each foot indicating talons. Below the talons, the simple tail is visible. The back is flat and featureless except for the attachment loops.


1. Compare E. V. Perevodchikova, The Language of Animal Images: Essays on Art of the Eurasian Steppes in the Scythian Epoch (Moscow, 1994) fig. 1.7 (a frontal bird with wings spread and head in profile); E. C. Bunker, “Animal Style” Art from East to West, exh. cat., Asia House Gallery, New York; University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco (New York, 1970) 142, no. 106 (a harness trapping with the head of a bird or griffin and a vertical loop for attachment).

2. For similar bird heads, see A. Salmony, Sino-Siberian Art in the Collection of C.T. Loo (Paris, 1933) 40-41, pls. 6.3-4 and 11.18-19.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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