Vessel in the form of a zebu

This fired clay vessel in the form of a hump-backed bull (a zebu) was made around 3,000 years ago. Quite large (39cm long) it belongs to a ceramic tradition of north-western Iran known as the Amlash culture.

Similar vessels have been excavated from intact tombs in Iran in the shape of stags, rams and horses. They were clearly intended to be pourers but their exact function remains uncertain, although a ceremonial use is likely. 

You can see this, and others, on display in our Ancient Near East gallery on the ground floor.

Amlash Terracotta Musical Instrument, 1st Millennium BC

A very rare ancient Near Eastern Amlash (Iran) güiro or rasp-like musical instrument with a bull’s head. The hollow cylindrical body is made with numerous horizontal ribs for strumming with a stick. It has a long vertical opening with other circular holes for acoustics and a loop handle at the back for gripping.