- Museum number
Rectangular stela; polished yellow calcite-alabaster; lightly crescentic top and bull's head in very high relief in the centre; five folds represented around each eye with one fold represented above the tip of the muzzle; roughly trimmed back; half of bull's muzzle re-attached; one corner badly chipped; tip of right horn missing.
- Production date
- 1stC BC (?)
Height: 37 centimetres (on stone base)
Height: 32.50 centimetres
Thickness: 16 centimetres (on stone base)
Thickness: 13.50 centimetres
Width: 19.60 centimetres (on stone base)
Width: 14 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Bowers Catalogue entry
Bull’s head stela
Possibly 1st century BC - 1st century AD
Height 32.5 cm, width 14 cm, thickness 13.5 cm
Probably from Hayd ibn Aqil
ANE 1951-4-7,2 = 130883
Bequeathed by Sir Antonin Besse (1877-1951)
The bull has been traditionally, albeit controversially, identified as a symbol of the leading Sabaean god Almaqah, and thus was considered a lucky motif to decorate architecture as well as funerary stelae. The exaggerated wrinkles around the eyes and muzzle are a hallmark of ancient South Arabian representations of bulls. Several examples of precisely this type of stela have been excavated at Hayd ibn Aqil, the main cemetery of the Qatabanian capital at Timna, and it is likely that this stela derives from the same site.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 11 Dec-2010 10 May, Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, Treasures of the World’s Cultures
2009 1 May-20 Sep, Victoria, Royal BC Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004-2005 17 Oct-13 Mar, California, Bowers Museum, 'Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality'
- Fair; half of bull's muzzle re-attached; one corner badly chipped; tip of right horn missing.
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Ja 39 (siglum)