38. A Polished Limestone Seated Bull

Indus Valley, circa 3000 BC
Size: 11 cm long

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The horns, ears and clover leaf inlays are of lapis lazuli, the eyes are inlayed with shell, polished black chlorite and lapis lazuli. The body of the bull is pierced with a vertical hole.

Lapis lazuli was mined in ancient Bactria and exported widely, notably to Egypt and Mesopotamia. The technique of inlaying stone in this way was also used over a wide area, with examples known from Susa, Bactria and the Indus Valley, the latter being the most likely origin of this example.

The report of the scientific examination by Striptwist Laboratory is available.