Terracotta Bull, T-266
Bryn Mawr College Collections
Richard C. Bull Collection

Map of Iran

 

Marlik

The largest number of objects in the Richard C. Bull Collection comes from the region of Marlik. Objects looted from this region have been assigned to Luristan, but excavations from the region of Marlik, lying on the southwest shore of the Caspian Sea, have enabled scholars to re-ascribe pieces in collections. Two distinctively Marlik pieces in the Bull Collection are the two larger terracotta bulls, T-266 and T-265. Numerous bulls resembling these can be found in collections like the Arthur M. Sackler Collection. More importantly, during the excavations at Marlik, sixteen bulls resembling T-266 and T-265 were found. Of the sixteen, nine are made of red clay, like T-266, while seven are of gray to grayish brown clay, like T-265. Eleven of them have a tapered body with a spherical rump like T-266. The other five have cylindrical bodies like T-265 but also have spherical rump like T-266. Five have humps similar to T-266 where the head of the animal is merged with the hump and eight have humps that are twice as thick and the head is a separate entity from the hump, as on T-265. All of the Marlik bull vessels have short, tapered legs and a band tail on their rumps like the Bull Collection bulls. Thirteen have pierced lugs under their horns like T-266, and four of these were found with gold rings in the lugs. Six of the Marlik bulls have eyes, usually in the form of impressed circles like T-266, but one of them has knobs instead. These eyes, both impressions and knobs, are found on either side of the spout, except on one bull whose eyes are on his forehead between the horns as on T-266. Only two of the Marlik bulls have genitals represented like those of T-266. None of the Marlik bulls have lugs under their spouts and most of them have an arris or an incision down the front of their chest representing a dewlap (a flap of loose skin along the chest). This feature is not seen on the Bull Collection bulls. The Marlik bulls are all roughly the same size, measuring between 25cm and 29cm in length and between 19cm and 25cm in height. This is a little smaller than T-266 but slightly larger than T-265. The Marlik vessels are dated according to stylistic comparisons with bull vessels found in museums and private collections to the end of the second/beginning of the first millennia BCE. (5)

 
Terracotta Bull, T-265
Bryn Mawr College Collections
Richard C. Bull Collection