080. Horse on Two Openwork Spheres - Geometric

080. Horse on Two Openwork Spheres - Geometric

H: 9.9 cm. L: 6.7 cm
Philia? (as allegedly from the region of Karditsa) [1]
c. 720-690 B.C.

The model built up piecemeal in wax and the whole probably cast head down in one operation, a considerable achievement in addition to the technical difficulty presented by the two spheres. Polished in the cold and engraved, the traces of which are difficult to identify on account of ancient wear and later surface incrustation. On the neck, dot-and-circle decoration (compass-drawn?) with one such on the lower left section of the front sphere. Possibly two parallel lines across the left thigh.

Condition: a greenish black surface with limestone-like burnt brown earth incrustation, a few spots of green (carbonate?), and red cuprite.

This obviously harks back to a mannerist Corinthian prototype [2], which is also Zimmermann's assessment, either via Aetolia or directly from Corinth [3].

Probably a pendant and hung from the waist; possibly a votive hung from the branch of a tree in a sanctuary. Though its use as a rattle has been mentioned, we do not think it likely, since to our knowledge none of the openwork spheres from Central or Northern Greece have ever been found with a ball still inside.

Exhibited and Published:
Master Bronzes, cat. no. 20A, pp. 38, 39 ill.

Bouzek, J.: Graeco-Macedonian Bronzes (Prague, 1974), p. 74, 0: 4.
Gehrig, U.L.: Die geometrischen Bronzen aus dem Heraion von Samos (Hamburg, 1964), p. 55 pl. 25,1.
Kilian-Dirlmeier, I.: Anhänger in Griechenland von der mykenischen bis zur spätgeometrischen Zeit, PBF XI, 2 (Munich, 1979), no. 609.
Rolley, Cl.: Les bronzes grecs (Fribourg, 1983), no. 41, pp. 62-63 ill.
Zimmermann, J.-L.: Les chevaux de bronze dans l'art géométrique grec (Mainz, 1989), no. The 33, p. 245 pl. 59.

Rolley, Cl.: Fouilles de Delphes V2, 1969, p. 83 n.1. - Himmelmann-Wildschütz, N.: Geometrisches Bronzepferdchen in Bonn, AA 89, 1974, p. 550 n. 17. - Kilian, K.: Fibeln in Thessalien von der mykenischen bis zur archaischen Zeit, PBF XIV,2 (Munich, 1975), p. 208. - id.: Prähistorische Zeitschrift 50, 1975, pp. 22, 26. - Kilian-Dirlmeier, I.: Drei Kleinbronzen im J. Paul Getty Museum, GettyMusJourn 6-7, 1978-79, p. 130 n. 45. - Heilmeyer, W.-D.: Frühe Olympische Bronzefiguren. Die Tiervotive, OF XII, 1979, p. 91 n. 124.

1 According to Gehrig, U.: Die geometrischen Bronzen aus dem Heraion von Samos, p. 55.

2 For a discussion of schools in the Geometric period, see Herrmann, H.-V.: Werkstätten geometrischer Bronzeplastik, JdI 79, 1964.

3 Zimmermann, J.-L.: Les chevaux de bronze dans l'art géométrique grec, p. 253.