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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Handle Attachment with Opposing Horse Heads
Work Type
7th-mid 5th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Iron Age
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
4.7 x 10.6 x 1.8 cm (1 7/8 x 4 3/16 x 11/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is green with spots of underlying red; brown burial accretions are also present. The corrosion layers obscure much of the surface, which has little fine detail.

The long section between the horse heads is hollow and open on the back. The horse heads are solid cast. The soft, somewhat irregular, shapes indicate the object was cast from a model made by working directly in the wax. The holes at both ends of the handle section are irregular and were probably made in the wax model.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Carol Hebb and Alan Feldbaum
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
Opposing horse heads decorate the ends of this handle attachment. The horse heads are solid and very schematic, with pointed ears and a slight, raised crest to indicate the mane. Raised bumps represent eyes, but no other details are added. The attachment portion is a half cylinder, open on the back to fit onto the rim of a vessel. Three raised, vertical bands decorate the front of the cylinder, one under each horse head and one in the center. There is a single perforation through each end.

Very similar handle attachments are in the Badischen Landesmuseum Karlsruhe (1). Attachments of this type were fitted onto large bowls, and a wire handle for the bowl was affixed to the attachment plate at the holes under each horse’s head.


1. See F. Jurgeit, Die etruskischen und italischen Bronzen sowie Gegenstände aus Eisen, Blei und Leder im Badischen Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, Terra Italia 5 (Pisa, 1999) 282-83, nos. 462-66, pls. 142-43.

Lisa M. Anderson

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