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Creator Nationality: Kampuchea (Cambodia), Khmer empire
Creator Name-CRT: Kampuchea (Cambodia), Khmer empire
Title: Head of a Deity
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 900
Creation End Date: 999
Creation Date: A.D. 10th Century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: sandstone
Dimensions: Overall: 11 x 7 1/16 x 6 1/2 in. (27.94 x 17.94 x 16.51 cm.)
AMICA Contributor: Dallas Museum of Art
Owner Location: Dallas, Texas, USA
ID Number: 1969.10
Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase
Context: The Villanovan culture of Italy represents the Early Iron Age of the Etruscans and received its name from the site of Villanova near Bologna, discovered in 1853. A remarkable number of bronze horse bits have been recovered from Villanovan sites, and this example is a particularly elaborate one. The mouthpiece is jointed by interlocking rings. The high, curving cheekpieces terminate in ornamental knobs. A pair of horses placed muzzle to muzzle decorate the cheekpieces and could have served to check the headstall straps that probably passed through the space beneath their joined noses. The horses stand erect with ears alert, their hogged manes scalloped, and their tails anchored in the space behind their rear hooves. Extending from each cheekpiece and attached to the mouthpiece by interlocking rings is a mobile bar to the end of which the reins would have been fastened. Three stylized bird-shaped ornaments are mounted on each of these bars in a design that inks each set together, tail to tail or tail to beak. Dangling on rings from each of the cheekpieces are four pairs of bird-headed pendants decorated on their outer faces and set back to back. These not only added to the decorative effect of the bit, but jingled when the horse was moving.Villanovan horse bits have been recovered from several tombs, both male and female, in northern and central Italy and were apparently meant to indicate the affluent social position of those who could afford horses and horse-drawn vehicles. The bits are often found in pairs, and occasionally in context with wagon or chariot parts. This indicates that these ornate devices were made in pairs for a team of horses and not just for an individual horse. A horse bit nearly identical to the one discussed here is in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It is analogous in nearly every detail except that the horses' manes are not scalloped. Neither of these two bits has a known provenance, but whether or not they were made for the same team of horses, it sees likely they were crafted in the same workshop.Bronze horse bits of the same period and functioning in a similar manner were produced in Luristan (western Persia). However, the cheekpieces of those bits are decorated with fantastic, winged creatures, positioned so that the bar of the mouthpiece passes over their bodies. They are quite different in decoration and style from the types of animals on the Villanovan examples. That cheekpieces decorated with animals are almost unknown in Greece would seem to exclude this otherwise acceptable intermediary as a source of influence.'Gods, Men, and Heroes,' page 83
AMICA ID: DMA_.1969.10
AMICA Library Year: 2003
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