Luristan bronzes are a name given to certain bronze figures from Ancient, western Iran. This piece is thought to be from between 900 and 700 years before Christ.
The curator for this particular piece describes it first, as a double headed horse and then goes on to describe it with the additional detail of; "Such an amulet seems partly whimsical, partly mystical, a reflection of man's love of this noble creature".
The noble creature in question is the horse but the reason he describes it as "whimsical" and "partly mystical" is that it doesn't look much like a horse-on either side.
Here at s8int.com we think we know why? It's not a horse! Discriminating and intelligent people can surely disagree but to us it looks very muh like a crested, hadrosaurine dinosaur, similar to the Corythosaurus, Hypacrosaurus or Lambeosaurus.
We're really quite confident that at the very least the piece looks more like the lambeosaurus than it does the horse. We're not claiming that we know precisely which one of the crested lambeosaurines this piece represents, they are all quite similar. We just believe that its clearly a type of crested dinosaur.
We invite you to come to your own conclusions as to a possible non-horse identification for the double headed piece.
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TITLE: Luristan Bronze Double Headed Horse Sculpture
WORK DATE: 900-700
SIZE: h: 9.5 cm / h: 3.7 in
Collection: Near Eastern
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY
WE HEREBY GUARANTEE THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE FOLLOWING:
Luristan Bronze Double Headed Horse Sculpture Dated (900-700 BC)
"This beautiful object may once have been worn as an amulet, the double headed horses serving to keep watch in both directions.
The horse was domesticated in the Near East from the third millennium BC, and the profusion of horse bronzes in Luristan speaks of its important place in that society.
Such an amulet seems partly whimsical, partly mystical, a reflection of man's love of this noble creature."
"The "duckbilled dinosaurs" were common in the Upper Cretaceous of Europe, Asia, and North America. They were members of the Ornithopoda, and close relatives and possibly descendants of the earlier iguanodontid dinosaurs.
Early interpretations of fossil skin impressions suggested that hadrosaur feet were webbed.
Recent hypotheses, more consistent with what we know about the structure of ornithopod feet, suggest that hadrosaurs had pads similar to those seen on camel feet.
Double heads along with a crested hadrosaurine and a real horsie. Click and drag to resize.
Their stiff tails, supported by ossified tendons, and their sturdy bones and rapidly replaced teeth suggest that hadrosaurs spent most of their time on land, though close to bodies of water, feeding on tough terrestrial plants.
The discovery of spectacularly preserved hadrosaur nests and young shows that hadrosaurs migrated to nesting grounds to reproduce.
There are two subfamilies of hadrosaurs, the Lambeosaurinae, which have a crest on the skull, and the Hadrosaurinae, which lacked the crest. The crest on a lambeosaur's skull contains the nasal passages, which "looped" through the crest and often formed sizeable chambers before passing into the airway
Why the crest? A number of hypotheses have been seriously suggested:
the crest was a "snorkel" so that lambeosaurs could breathe while under water (but the crest had no opening to the outside, except for the nostrils);
the crest warmed the air that the lambeosaurs were breathing (but lambeosaurs already lived in warm climates);
the crest was an extra reservoir of air for swimming lambeosaurs (but it doesn't hold much air, and lambeosaurs probably didn't swim very much);
the crest enabled lambeosaurs to breathe fire from their nose (but there's no evidence that the delicate bones of the nose were ever exposed to high temperatures regularly).
Click and drag to resize.
The most accepted theory today of the function of the crest is that it served as a resonating chamber, allowing lambeosaurs to make deep, loud sounds. Perhaps these calls warned of predators, or kept a herd together, or attracted potential mates, or did all these things.
The crest may have also functioned as a visual display device in addition: perhaps large and odd-shaped crests attracted mates".
Source: Carroll, R.L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York.
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