39 • A Bowenite Head Gazing Towards The Heavens

Ancient Bactria, 3rd millennium BC
Size: 10 cm

A similar head made from red chlorite is recorded in Uzbekistan, dated to the 3rd millennium BC. Green bowenite is widely distributed throughout the early trade routes, notably at Tell Halaf in Anatolia, from where small figures of mother goddesses date back to the 6th millennium BC. There is a huge cube of bowenite in the temple sanctuary of Hattusa, the Hittite capital, which has puzzled archaeologists ever since they found it. Latterly it became known as shahmaksud, much used for prayer beads and other instrumental objects of the Sufis.