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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Bull Standard
Work Type
25th-24th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Anatolia
Bronze Age, Early
Near Eastern
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Arsenical copper
Cast, lost-wax process
16.2 cm (6 3/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Arsenical Copper
Alloying Elements: copper, arsenic
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: This figure is so highly mineralized and encrusted with gray burial accretions that it is difficult to say much about its method of manufacture other than that its shape suggests that it is solid, was modeled in wax, and was cast in one piece by the lost-wax process. The metal base below the legs could have served as a casting cup. Nothing can be said about the figure’s original surface. Some of the large green corrosion pustules have cracked and broken, revealing cupritic red mineral formations below them.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
Formerly in the possession of Richard R. Wagner, west Barnstable, Massachusetts, who sold it to Selim Dere of Fortuna Galleries, New York. Selim Dere sold it Dr. Mildenberg. Wagner did most of his collecting in the 1960s.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Roy W. Lennox, David N. Silich, and the Marian H. Phinney Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This thin bull stands with its feet pressed together on top of a small base. The animal has a long, thin torso; its upper fore- and hindlimbs are comparatively muscular. There is a raised ridge, indicating the spine, that runs from the neck, down the back, to the slight nub of a tail. The neck curves markedly to the left, while the body leans to the right. The head is simple, with little detail visible; bulges for the eyes and ears are apparent. The elongated muzzle flares at the end, and there is a semi-circular incision to indicate the opening of the mouth. It has two, long curving horns, now bent to cross each other.

Publication History

  • Jane Biers, ed., A Peaceable Kingdom: Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, Part VI, Verlag Philipp von Zabern (Mainz, 2004), p. 7, no. 8.

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at