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Syro-Hittite Bronze Belt Fragment - Stamped Stag Hunt

$3,495.00
Ancient Near East, Syro-Hittite, ca. 12th to 8th century BCE. An incredibly rare bronze belt with stamped motifs depicting a stag hunt. Stamped into the bronze are repeated images of scampering stags, riders on horseback, winged god figures, and lions. Each motif repeats three or four times vertically. One side of the belt has three punched out holes for attachment. Similar belts are composed of two sheets of bronze that are sewn together at one end. This example would have once had a clasping mechanism on its other end. Size: 10.45" W x 4.25" H (26.5 cm x 10.8 cm)

Hittite royalty had game enclosures set up specifically for hunting, and hunting imagery, specifically the stag hunt, was associated with religious ritual. For example, the Sphinx's Gate at Alaca Hoyuk (13th century BCE) and the Lion Gate at Malatya (early 10th century BCE) were both carved with large, monumental hunting scenes featuring the ruling elite, stags, and lions. Processions celebrating ritual hunts passed through these gates at different times of the year, including some where people paraded with standards bearing figures of stags and masked dancers reenacted hunting scenes in front of large audiences. This belt connects explicitly to that imagery and probably belonged to someone of high status, associated with the world of hunting not to survive, but instead to demonstrate their high social standing.

Condition: This is a fragment of a full belt, with losses at the ends. One end has been repaired but is in fragile condition. Edges have cracking as shown. Mottled deep brown and pale green/turquoise patina on surface, with most of the present motifs clear and in very good condition.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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