- Museum number
- Series: Oxus Treasure
Cast silver statuette of a nude youth: standing upright with his elbows held close to his sides and forearms extended, the clenched fists pierced with vertical circular holes; long legs, positioned close together, the feet resting upon a small rectangular but plain stepped plinth; the figure is wearing a foil gilded high, stiff cap which projects in a roll over the forehead; the ears are pierced; flattened buttocks; head cast onto the body; sharp V-incision in the back of the cap indicating that this object was originally set against a sharp edged surface, also explaining the flattening of the buttocks. The seam around the edge of the headdress indicates where two sheets of gold foil have been burnished together.
- Production date
- 5thC BC (about)
Height: 1 centimetres (lower base)
Height: 29.20 centimetres
Length: 5.70 centimetres (lower base)
Weight: 1852.50 grammes
Width: 5.30 centimetres (lower base)
- Curator's comments
- Dalton compares the style of the figure to 5th century BC Greek mirror-handles which are themselves miniaturised versions of contemporary votive figures; he continues by suggesting that the figure may nevertheless have been made within the Persian Empire. J. Boardman (1994a, 'The Diffusion of Classical Art', pp. 103-104) concludes that it is a Persian or Bactrian product and parallels the headdress on an unprovenanced bronze figure in the Urumchi Museum which was apparently found in a tomb (op. cit., pp. 149-50), suggesting a 4th date for both. Regarded by Professor Lolita Nehru as of local Bactrian production, on the basis of the style of the face ("Local traditions in the art of Western Central Asia from the 6th century BC to 1st century AD", unpublished lecture, 3 March 2004, Senate House, London). However, the style of the figure and headdress are most closely paralleled by chariot axle pins excavated in a Persian-period tumulus (Tumulus 89) at Bin Tepeler near Sardis (Kökten Ersoy, H., 1998. ‘Conservation and reconstruction of Phrygian chariot wheels from Mysia’, Thracians and Phrygians. Problems of Parallelism. Proceedings of an International Symposium on the Archaeology, Ancient History and Ancient Languages of Thrace and Phrygia, Ankara, 3–4 June 1995 (Tuna, N., Aktüre, Z. & Lynch, M., eds), 131–46. Ankara: METU, cf. p.125, fig. 12). Similar headdress is also worn by horse and rider terracottas of this period, e.g. from Isin (p.65 and pl. 27 = no. 1027 in: B. Hrouda et al., 1981: 'Išan-Bahriyat II. Die Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen 1975-1978', München: Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften). The nick-incision on the back of the cap and flattened buttocks imply that this object was designed to stand upright against a second object.
- On display (G52/dc3)
- Exhibition history
2006 7 Mar-11 Jun, Barcelona, Fundacion La Caixa, 'L'imperi Oblidat'
2005-2006 Sept-Jan, London, BM, 'Forgotten Empire'
1995-2005 17 Nov-Aug BM, G52/IRAN/27
1994 16 Jun-23 Dec, BM, G49/IRAN/27
1990 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.17
1990 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.17
1989 Temporary display, BM, Room 35 (Hinton St Mary mosaic staircase)
1975-ca 1990 Jul- BM, Iranian Room [IR], OT case, no. 4
1958- BM, Persian Landing c/c, south-west
1931-ca 1939 BM, Room 20: Persian Room
1923-1931 BM, King Edward VII Building: Franks Display
1900- BM, Gold Ornament Room
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: OT 4 (catalogue no)