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  Highlights of the Collection: Prehistoric Terracottas
  Two-headed animal vessel (AN1971.856) Back to previous page

Two-headed animal vesselThis creature makes one think of the two-headed animal called the pushmi-pullyu which figures in Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle books. He had a head at each end of his body and could eat with one while talking with the other. This enabled him to avoid talking with his mouth full.

In this case, we have a hollow, elongated four-legged vessel with a handle in the centre of the back and a bull's head (with rounded horns) at one end and a stag's head (with flattened antlers) at the other. The "muzzle" of each of these heads is formed by a small handle-like loop, with a nick (like a mouth) about two-thirds of the way down. There is another such loop at the back of the bull's head. There is a large round opening immediately below each "muzzle", too low on the body of the vessel to allow it to function as a practical container or pouring vessel, since any liquid poured in would immediately flow out elsewhere. The eyes of the animals are indicated by small round holes which also pierce the wall of the vessel. Two more holes are pierced at the bases of each of the "muzzles". Together, these holes and the nicked "muzzles" create the sense of faces with somewhat soulful expressions. The body is decorated with patterns formed from incised lines and concentric circles, with traces of white filling substance still visible in places. Curved lines are incised on the front of the bull's horns, and branching patterns on the stag's antlers.


Other Details:
Red Polished III, c. 2000 BC. No provenance.

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