62 • An Anaconda in Brecciated Granite

Ancient Bactria, 3rd millennium BC
Size: 10.5 × 8 cm

Ancient heroes are shown wrestling with giant anacondas on many chlorite and schist vessels of the same period. This Anaconda, however, is carved truer to life, and appears to be crunching up a male figure who is holding his head in a gesture of agony. He has a hairstyle typical of other human figurines of the 3rd millennium BC. Another unusual feature is the stone from which it is carved, a brecciated granite, which does a wonderful job of rendering the skin of such a slithy serpent. Granite was rarely used because it is so hard to carve, and is otherwise known from the grooved and waisted ‘votive’ columns of Bactria. Like many ‘votive’ objects this sculpture, too, is hard to interpret, erupting from an ancient time and showing Nature red in tooth and claw.