Mesopotamia, Uruk period, 3rd millennium BCE. Finely carved from a white sedimentary stone, such as limestone, with blue lapis lazuli inlays, a recumbent bull that may have served as a votive offering to the goddess Inanna, the Mesopotamian moon god. A very rare piece from this ancient Mesopotamian culture, replete with wonderful modeling and details - just look at those lifelike eyes with complex inlay work, the incised wrinkles above to imbue the visage with great expression, the bas relief tail sweeping up the animal's back, and the stylized spots on the bull's coat - all inlaid with gorgeous lapis lazuli of brilliant cobalt blue hues. Size: 4.8" W x 2.9" H (12.2 cm x 7.4 cm)
It is possible that this sculpture represents the pregnant cow known as Geme-Sin belonging to Inanna (also Nanna, Suen, Sin) - the Mesopotamian moon god. The ancient text entitled "A Cow of Sin" tells of how Sin eased Geme-Sin's birthing pains, and the incantation ends this way, "may this woman give birth as easily as Geme-Sin". Furthermore, the moon god, whose primary symbol was actually a bull, was also associated with fertility, since the timing of the moon's transformations was related to menstrual cycles, and by extension the cow.
The purchaser of this piece will have access to a Scientific Report by Dr. Olivier Bobin for CIRAM Corp, New York, USA dated September 25, 2017.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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