Bactrian “Master of Animals” Vase, 2nd ML BC
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A carved serpentine vase, conical in profile with flared rim; frieze of a standing kilted god or hero with horned headdress and hatched hair, grasping in each hand the neck of a rearing serpent, each with gaping mouth and slender protruding tongue, elliptical panels in two lines to the body; supplied with a laminated card clarifying the design.
Items such as this were produced on the island of Tarut in the Gulf, close to the Arabian coast. The carving is known as the Intercultural Style and combines stylistic elements that are paralleled in eastern Iran and western Central Asia with iconography that derives from, and mingles, those of Mesopotamia, Iran and Harappa. The figure is most commonly described as the ‘Master of Animals,’ a hero figure that is associated with the control of the chaotic forces of nature as represented by wild animals. vessels such as this have been found at religious sites, such as the temple of the moon god Sin at Khafajah.