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    Spectacular Early Chariot Group

    SUMERO-HITTITE. Early Bronze Age, circa 3500-2200 BCE. Large terracotta chariot group with three equids. A stylized representation of a two-wheeled chariot accompanied by three equids, most likely mules or donkeys. The chariot itself, 11.5 inches (29 cm) in length and 10 inches (25.4 cm) tall on wheels, is comprised of a narrow central platform attached two solid wheels with protruding axles, the front with a raised rectangular plate with two projecting "horns," pierced with two small holes, presumably for reins, and a larger, angled hole for a guide pole; to the rear, a raised projection serving as a seat for the driver and/or passenger. The equids, each approximately 8.5 inches (22 cm) long, are depicted in simplistic fashion, with long mule-like ears and short tail; harnesses are also partially represented in clay. Mostly intact; some loss of material from inside of one wheel and the ears of two of the equids, the light glaze worn through in spots. The wheels are reattached with an acrylic axle.

    From the Hadji Baba Museum Collection, Old City Jerusalem, IAA Export # 531039.

    Accompanied by Thermo Luminescence test report by Oxford Authentication Ltd., date 6 January 2014, confirming the object was last fired between 3,400 and 2,200 years ago.

    This model, possibly a votive offering, depicts a very early form of wheeled vehicle, closely resembling Sumerian relief depictions of four-wheeled battle carts and two wheeled chariots. The wheels are shown as solid, a very primitive form, and the presence of a fixed shield to the front, through which the reins pass, and a seat for the rider points to a battlefield use. Moreover, this group is of extreme importance in determining when the horse (and related equids) were first domesticated for use in pulling chariots and carts. Both the Sumerians in Mesopotamia and the Hittite Culture of central Anatolia pioneered the use of chariots for both general transport and warfare, with most estimates placing the first use of two-wheeled chariots about 2000 BC. This artifact group, confirmed by TL testing to date between 3,400 and 2,200 years old, would seem to be among the very earliest representations of an equine chariot from any culture, perhaps pointing to an earlier use than previously thought by two centuries or more.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2016
    16th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,503

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