Colossal Bull Head

Iran: Persepolis, Hundred-Column Hall; Achaemenid Period Reigns of Xerxes/Artaxerxes I, ca. 485-424 B.C. Dark gray limestone; restored. Excavated by the Oriental Institute, 1932. "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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