Wednesday 8 December 2010

More of the same.

These two little silver dogs are quite exceptional pieces. Indeed, although dogs are often represented in Iranian or Mesopotamian art, objects of this type - probably ornaments of dress - are rare.
They come from Bactria, a region situated between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Silver was frequently employed by Oriental goldsmiths, yet few examples of silver pieces still exist because these objects were seldom kept. This precious metal was particularly popular in Bactria. The region of Bactria had a strong tradition of decoration using animal figures. Wild animals (birds of prey, monkeys, camels, and wild boars) and fantastic beasts (dragons) were represented on arms, tools, vases, and dress ornaments.
These two little dogs, barely four centimetres long, are pierced vertically. It is possible that a thread was passed through the hole to hang them on a necklace, for instance, or - more probably - these elements were attached to a metal stem and used as pinheads or the tops of decorative staffs.
They date from the 3rd or 2nd millennium BC and are also exhibited in the Louvre.


Rob said...

They look nice little pieces.

Whispering Walls said...

They seem to have rather elaborate collars