Very Rare Bactrian Jar with Figural Scene, 2nd ML BC
carved chlorite(?) jar with high-relief image of two oxen tied to a
tree, inverted nude male between them. 222 grams, 64mm (2 ½").
made from steatite or chlorite have frequently been found at early to
mid-third millennium BC sites in Mesopotamia, Iran, and along the
southern shore of the Persian Gulf. On the island of Sarut, in the Gulf,
sites have been discovered where large quantities of the raw material,
unfinished and completed vessels, which would indicate that this was the
center of manufacture and from where they would eventually be
disseminated through international trade.
Motif on these vessels vary from scenes of animals, mythological
creatures and deities, to representations of textiles and wool -
important commodities to the emerging Empires at the time. Important
animals, apart from sheep and goats, were bulls who were associated with
important deities associated with rain and fertility. The nature of the
representations would suggest that these vessels were used in religious
The symbol of the cosmic tree in both its upright and inverted forms is clearly found in the Rg Veda. Both forms of the cosmic tree are used as the basic formulation of the cosmogony and cosmology of the soma sacrifice.
In Rg Vedic cosmology, the unmanifest realm above is represented by an upright tree. The manifest world below is represented by an inverted tree. These can be graphically depicted as two triangles pointing in opposite directions and mirroring each other. This is the probable origin of the graphic representation of two triangles opposed to each other found in European alchemical and magical traditions. The soma priest used fire along the cosmic pillar/tree to invert it, making it an upward‑pointing triangle. This initiated a reunification of the manifest and unmanifest worlds. The fire (Agni) is said in the Rg Veda to be born directly from the entheogenic lotus (puskara) that induces the inner fire in the heart.
When the two triangles representing the manifest and the unmanifest worlds merge in the heart as explained in the Rg Vedic soma ceremony, the formation of the six‑pointed star body of light results. Fire reverses the inverted tree of manifestation by uniting the manifest with the unmanifest, forming a union of opposites. At this stage celestial soma merges with terrestrial Agni and lights up the solar heart. The six-pointed star body is really a seven‑pointed star body. Along the trunk there are three sets of pairs of limbs, which equal six points. The central pillar is itself the seventh point of the seven‑pointed star body. The luminous solar body of light emerges from the primal waters of creation in the heart‑ocean. This inner star body formed by the union of opposites is found at the basis of many Western mystical traditions including magic, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, alchemy, Hermetic traditions, and the works of Jacob Boehme, Robert Fludd, and John Dee.