Canaanite Bronze Bull with Silver Coating

Culture: Levant
Period: around 1200 B.C.
Material: Bronze, Silver
Dimensions: 13.8 cm x 17 cm
Price: Sold
Ref: 6133
Provenance: Private collection Alex Cotton, 7 Greenways Road, Brockenhurst-Hants, from 1950 to 1974. Thence Italo Vecchi, London, from 1974 to 2016. With an Art Claim Confidential Report dated 4 August 2016.
Condition: Silver sheet in fragments preserved, the figure intact with light encrustations on the surface.
Description: Heavy solid bronze figure of a standing bull. Head, neck and shoulder still covered with the ancient silver sheet, which probably was over the entire body. The legs are short and firm, the body also muscularly tense, the tail lying and pressed between the hind legs. As expansion to the already strong body presentation is the very expressive style of the face physiognomy with its vivid, virtually aggressive wrinkling above the nostrils and eyes. The short, strong ears protruding sideways, above them the horns, which probably were worked out in a different material (gold?) and breaking through the silver. A pin for fixation is still recognizable in the left ear. The bull may stand for god Baal in animal form, who in his human shape is also depicted with horns. A similar model with gold coating in Louvre from Byblos in Lebanon with accession number AO 14680, as well as a model with silver coating at Bonhams auction from 16 April 2015, lot 44 (sold for 73 279 Euro). Cults around bulls, as is known, were negatively interpreted in the Bible (the tradition of the “golden calf”). Sculptures like this one were possibly the model for the Deuteronomistic use of the calf/bull/cow symbolism. Extremely rare!