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Figure: Throne Decoration

Urartu

8th century BC

Bronze, stone H 16 cm

This cast figure with engraved decoration formed part of the decoration of a large throne for one of the rulers of the state of Urartu. It was found in 1884 at the site of Toprak Kale, near Van. Such fabulous figures were intended to protect Urartian rulers against evil forces and to impress ambassadors from other states, emphasizing the richness and power of Urartu. The figure represents a winged lion with a human torso. Executed with great artistic and technical skill, it is decorated with coloured stones and smalt. The figure was covered with gold leaf, traces of which have survived, while the face is of white stone with inset eyes and eyebrows. The head is crowned with a headdress with horns and a crescent pendant hangs around the neck. The wings and lower part of the torso are coated with engraved feathers. Set into the bottom of the paws are pins, probably to attach the figure to a wooden base.

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