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Drinking Vessel
Drinking Vessel
Armenia  
1st millennium BC 
silver 
 

One of the most magnificent examples of art uncovered from Urartian times is this drinking vessel, showing an Urartian king or lord on a galloping horse.  The overall design and helmet are unique in the Near East, reminiscent of that used for a fresco of an Urartian god (follows), though the representation of the beard links the vessel to Assyrian designs. 

 

Sarduri II HelmetArgishti I Helmet
Teishebaini (Karmir Blur)
8th century BC
bronze
 

 

 

Thought to have been worn by Sardur II in battle, the Sarduri helmet  is an embossed bronze and metal piece with unique iconography.  Eight (four on each side) snakes with lion heads curve over the entire design (guarding against evil spirits/souls) of eleven Trees of Life, deities, chariots and horsemen.   The back of the helmet shows a picture of Urartian soldiers in chariots or on horses. 

 

Vessel-AskosVessel-Askos
Teishebaini (Karmir Blur-Yerevan)
8th-7th century BC
glazed pottery
 

Geometric vessels figure into Armenia's history at least to the 5th millennium BC, and reached a height of artistic achievement at Shengavit around 4000-3500 BC.  The patterns are reminiscent of later works discovered at Mycanaean and Minoan excavations in the Mediterranean.

Boot-shaped vesselBoot Vessel
Teishebaini (Karmir Blur-Yerevan)
8th-7th cc. BC
ceramic
 

 

 

Unique in the artifacts found at Teishebaini is this boot vessel, realistically created with black and white clay, the white used to represent seams in the boot. It's use is unknown, though it may have representedthe boot of one of the gods, symbolizing power, and used at worship or banquets.

Red-slipped vesselRed Slipped Vessel
Teishebaini (Karmir Blur-Yerevan) 
7th-6th cc. BC 
ceramic 
 

 

Red and black glaze was favored by Urartians, and is one of the distinguishing features of their ceramics.  This vessel alternates two-toned red triangles (the white is part of the reconstruction), eight at the top,  14 at the bottom.   Eight is a repetitive number in Urartian religious symbolism, representing eternity.  The total of sixteen triangles can be made into its prime number 7, which was considered a sacred number.  

 

ceramic vesselCeramic Jug
Erebuni (Yerevan)
7th-6th cc. BC
ceramic
 

 

 

 

 

A simpler design was used for this vessel found at Erebuni.  Erebuni was abandoned in the 6th century, its most important items removed to Teishebaini, where the bulk of artifacts were found.  Those that remained were utilitarian items such as his jug, used to store oil, wine or water.

pyramid-shaped earrings
Triangular Earrings
Lori-Berd 
8th-7th cc. BC 
gold 
 

Each ring includes six human forms, four on the bottom row, two on the upper.  Four granular half beads are interspersed between them, while finely detailed edgings frame the entire picture.  The   number 4 symbolized the cardinal directions and the seasons in ancient numerology, and these half-beads may mark the passage of time.  Both earrings hold eight half-rounds and 12 humans, possibly an  allusion to twelve tribes or cultures also referred  to in Sumerian mythology. 

 

Urartian buttonPomegranate Vessel Cover 
Teishebaini (Karmir Blur) Yerevan
8th century BC
silver, gold
 
Used as a sign of hospitality and life, pomegranates figure prominently in ancestral Armenian designs as early as the Copper-Bronze Age.  It also figures into Urartian design, in decorative friezes and as repetitive patterns on frescos, carvings and furniture details. This is one of the few precious metal artifacts not taken to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. 
 

Bull fresco, possibly deityFresco of Bull
Erebuni (Yerevan)

8th century BC
fresco and pigment 

 

 

The bull may be a representation of one of Urartu's gods, symbolizing power and strength.  The fragment was part of a decorative frieze found within the complex.

  Khaldi
Fresco of Khaldi, 
Erebuni (Yerevan)
8th century BC
fresco and pigment

 

 

 

This reconstruction using fragments found in the palace complex in Erebuni depicts Khaldi, the main Urartian god.  Urartians worshipped 79 gods and goddesses in its pantheon, most a combination of human and animal aspects.   Khaldi is shown riding a lion, the rod of his authority on earth in one hand, the other raised in wisdom.  His dress is similar to that found throughout the Near East and Assyria at the time, though the head dress is akin to Egyptian deities.

Teisheba
Statuette of Teisheba
Teishebaini (Karmir Blur-Yerevan) 
8th-7th cc. BC 
bronze 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Teisheba was the Urartian god of war, and is shown holding weapons, wearing a helmet.  Though made from bronze, the figure appears as polished mahogany.  The figurine is small enough (24 cm)  to have been used for personal use.

 

Arubani, wife of KhaldiStatuette of Arubani
Van
8th century BC
Bronze
 

 

 

 

 

Arubani was the Urartian goddess of fertility and art, and the wife of Khaldi.  This 12 cm. figurine is in a sitting position, and was probably placed in a small shrine on a chair or throne. Arubani is the Urartian equivalent to the Armenian goddess Anahit and the Greek goddess Artemis.  The details on the figurine show eight side-squares with a four pointed star or water lily (native to Armenia) in the center, and a large chain and medallion on her chest.  Silk fragments found in the temple precinct at Erebuni suggests larger statues were adorned with clothing of the finest materials.

 

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