Diameter: 5.000 cm
British Museum Excavations
Room 72: Ancient Cyprus
Ivory disc engraved with a bull
Late Bronze Age, about 1300-1200 BC
From Hala Sultan Tekke, Cyprus
A delicately incised 'drawing' from the Bronze Age world
The small number of ivories from the Late Bronze Age town of Hala Sultan Tekke were probably carved locally and, like other products of Cypriot ivory workshops at this time, they show influences from both east and west.
The theme of the bull with a backward-turning head has a long history in Mycenaean Greece, and is ultimately derived from the art of Minoan Crete. This example is particularly freely drawn, the incised line firmly and surely outlining the graceful animal. There is even an unusual attempt at a three-quarter view, shown in the position of the horns.
The disc may originally have been the lid of a cylindrical box in ivory or wood.
P. Aström, 'Ivories from Hala Sultan Tekke' in Ivory in Greece and the East-1, British Museum Occasional Paper 85 (, 1992)