Animal Form Tripod

7th–6th century BCE
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General Description

An exceptionally refined piece, this tripod may reflect the influence of Assyrian art, with its great man-animal sculptures. This creature has the head and forelegs of a horse, but the forelegs are drawn up so as to suggest they are the arms of the rest of the figure, which is generally human in form, though with animal hocks and tail. The figure is ithyphallic and has a three-ring necklace, two-ring anklets, and a two-ring tail band as ornaments, and it supports a tripod-shaped structure on its head. Cross-hatching defines the figure's hide or skin. The whole figure was presumably part of a set supporting a larger bronze tripod. Although vase and tripod supports in the shape of animals are common, this particular figure is unusual, possibly unique. The work is an exceptionally fine piece of lost-wax casting with cold-worked ornament on the surface.

Adapted from

Anne R. Bromberg, and Karl Kilinski II, Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996. 38.

Fun Facts

In a letter dated August 1, 1966 to then-DMFA director Merrill C. Rueppel from antiquities dealer Elie Borowski, he said of this piece, "I was particularly happy that you reacted enthusiastically to the little proto-Achemenian bronze tripod, which I treasured very highly and kept it hidden in the vaults. It is really a "bijou", and I will be glad to see it again in Dallas on my visit to you the second week of September." [1]

"Bijou" is a French slang word for jewel, or trinket.

[1] See letter from Elie Borowski to Merrill C. Rueppel dated August 1, 1966 in Collections Records Object file 1966.24