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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Horse Pendant
Work Type
3rd century BCE-3rd century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Gilan (Iran)
Parthian period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
2.8 x 3.8 cm (1 1/8 x 1 1/2 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Bronze:
Cu, 90.23; Sn, 5.18; Pb, 4.3; Zn, 0.009; Fe, 0.17; Ni, 0.03; Ag, 0.07; Sb, less than 0.02; As, less than 0.10; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.011; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The horse is a solid lost-wax cast, with all details apparently modeled in the wax. It is covered in light green and brown patina.

Tony Sigel (submitted 1999)

Nelson Goodman, Weston, MA, gift; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 1995.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Nelson Goodman
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
A small hole pierces this small horse figurine at the nape of the neck and emerges at the juncture of the forelegs, so that the horse could have been worn as a pendant. Its tubular rump is elongated and thickens toward the hindquarters and a stumpy tail. The flat, high-curved neck is set off sharply from the body; there is no detail on the head except for the two alert ears. The stick-like legs recall animals figurines of the late second and early first millennia BCE from the province of Gilan (see 1978.505 and 1978.506). However, the defined geometrical forms link this and related horse-shaped pendants more closely to a series of cosmetic sticks with animal finials, such as 1995.1144, which seem to have been used in the same area of northern Iran at a later point, perhaps in the Parthian period (1).


1. Compare S. Fukai, “Design of Horse during the Parthian Period: On a Cosmetic Utensil with Horse Design Excavated from the Gilan Province,” The Memoirs of the Institute of Oriental Culture 50 (1970): i, 1-20, esp. 18, fig. 23 (not perforated; Tehran University Collection) [in Japanese with an English summary]; Fukai (p. i) refers to a horse figurine excavated from a Parthian tomb. See also F. Kußmaul, ed., Das Tier in der Kunst Irans, exh. cat., Linden-Museum, Stuttgart (Schorndorf, 1972) nos. 82-83; P. R. S. Moorey, Ancient Bronzes from Luristan (London, 1974) 169-70, nos. 160-61; E. De Waele, Bronzes du Luristan et d’Amlash, Publications d’historie de l’art et d’archeologie de l’Université Catholique de Louvain 34 (Louvain-La-Neuve, 1982) 176-77, nos. 283-86, fig. 146; and O. W. Muscarella, Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1988) 296-97, no. 423.

Susanne Ebbinghaus

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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