Sumerian Gypsum Statuette of Human-Headed Bulls
An ancient Sumerian gypsum statuette representing a pair of human-headed bulls. The recumbent bodies of the bulls overlap back to back, their hair falling in rows of stylized curls. The male heads are bearded and turned to the side. The remains of a smoothed, slightly raised area on the middle of the back of the statuette might have been intended to hold a removable offering bowl, perhaps in an arrangement similar to that of a small vessel supported by two rams in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. no. 1989.281.3).
Ca. 2800 - 2500 BC.
Images of human-headed bulls are found throughout ancient Mesopotamian art. The bearded heads typically wear a divine horned headdress. Statuettes of this type have been found at various Sumerian sites, the majority from the ancient city of Girsu (present-day Telloh).
Cf. A Neo-Sumerian statuette of a recumbent bull in the Louvre, inv. no. AO 2752. An example of two bulls with overlapping bodies: P. Amiet, Art of the Ancient Near East, 1977, p. 373, no. 351, an amulet from Nippur. An early 2nd millennium BC statuette of a dog with a libation bowl on its back in the Louvre, inv. no. AO 4349.
Formerly in the M. S. collection, New York; acquired on the London art Market in 1987.