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COLOSSAL BULL HEAD

Iran: Persepolis, Hundred-Column Hall
Achaemenid Period
Reigns of Xerxes/Artaxerxes I, ca. 485-424 B.C.
Dark gray limestone; restored
216.0 cm H, 158.0 cm W
Excavated by the Oriental Institute, 1932-3
OIM A24065

Carved in the court style typical of the Achaemenid Empire, this highly polished stone head originally belonged to one of two guardian bulls flanking the portico of the hundred-columned Throne Hall at Persepolis. The heads of the bulls projected in the round and the bodies were carved in relief on the sidewalls of the porch; the ears and horns had been added separately. The use of pairs of guardian figures such as these to protect important buildings was a common architectural feature in the ancient Near East.


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Revised: November 12, 1997
Copyright 2006 Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
http://oi.uchicago.edu