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A Greek Terracotta Bull, Hellenistic Period, ca 3rd - 1st century BC - Sands of Time Ancient Art
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ET005

A Greek Terracotta Bull, Hellenistic Period, ca 3rd - 1st century BC

The bull's face has protruding snout and indented eyes. Triangular protrusions pointing slightly forward on either side of the head indicate ears and horns. The piece stands on thick, cone shaped legs and its smooth body is inturrupted by a bulge at the throat. A raised line indicating a spine runs along the top of its back, leading to an attached tail that sweeps to the right.

Bulls are present in ancient Greek mythology, art, and culture. They are found in images of Zeus adopting the form of a white bull to abduct the woman Europa, depictions of the real acrobatics of Minoan bull-leaping, and perhaps most famously in the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, a child begotten of a queen and a bull. Small bull figurines found in the Aegean islands are thought to be tribute items, or votive offerings (Oliver Dickinson, The Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge, 1994).

Dimensions: height 4.5 inches (11.4 centimeters), length 6 inches(15.24 centimeters)

Condition: This piece has suffered two losses: the complete loss of the proper right front leg, and the loss of the bottom half of the proper right hind leg. There is also some loss to the top of each of the ears, and weathering and pitting throughout. Otherwise intact, the piece stands on a custom mount. 

Provenance:  Hunn family collection, acquired in the 1930's and then by descent.

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