33 • An Important Large Bactrian Copper Bowl

Central Asia, 3rd millennium BC
Size: 24 cm diameter

The entire wall of the bowl is repoussé-worked, with a vivid scene showing three buffaloes and a giant anaconda. The buffaloes have flamboyant horns and stand close up against each other in a rocky landscape. The anaconda snakes around the rocks and rears up behind a buffalo, its tail aloft ready to wrap its prey in its coils. The head of the anaconda is striking, with an almond-shaped eye, spiral ear and protruding tongue. This theme appears in the 4th millennium BC, and is better known from chlorite vessels that come from a wide area of the ancient world. Thin copper vessels like this one have rarely survived. A silver bowl and some gold fragments in the Kabul Museum are similarly decorated.