A bronze bell, conically shaped, consisting of several rings or “registers”, two of which have four rectangular apertures; with a gear-like loop on top.
Bells have frequently been found in the Near East. Sometimes these were used as cult and apotropaic devices (Calmeyer, p. 430-431; Özgen, p. 159). But most of the bells found belong to the category of horse trappings, as pendants on horse collars (Seidl, p. 115, Özgen, p. 159). In Urartu, horses were used to draw chariots and as mounts (Merhav, p. 79), and there is pictorial evidence of bells as horse trappings, provided by Assyrian reliefs and wall-paintings of the eighth-seventh centuries B.C. (see Özgen, p. 159 and p. 181, note 131 with references). Urartu has even been called the homeland of horses’ harness bells, since the earliest securely dated example was found there; besides, its reputation as a horse-breeding country would support the assumption (Özgen, p. 161).
Such bells come in various shapes. Merhav (p. 80) and Seidl (p. 115) both mention octagonal bells with rectangular apertures in the faceted sides, and conical bells with a vertical slit; Seidl adds closed conical bells as a third category (Seidl p. 115, figs. 86-87).
The majority of the horse bells have technological features in common, such as the use of bronze for the body and iron for the clapper rod and clapper itself (Özgen, p. 159; Merhav, p. 80, Seidl p. 115).
Peter Calmeyer, “Glocke”, Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie III (Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 1971), p. 427-431;
Rivka Merhav (ed.), Urartu. A Metalworking Center in the First Millennium B.C.E. (Jerusalem, Israel Museum, 1991), p. 79-80, p. 95 with figs. 56-61;
Engin Özgen, The Urartian Bronze Collection at the University Museum: The Urartian Armor. (Dissertation University of Pennsylvania, 1979), p. 159-163, nos. 55-57; p. 181 note 130-131; p. 253-255, figs. 27-29;
Ursula Seidl, Bronzekunst Urartus (Mainz am Rhein, Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 2004), p. 103; p. 115-116 with figs. 86-89.
Circa 9th-8th century B.C.
Height 10 cm.
Israeli private collection S.M., Herzliya Pituah. Exported with an export approval certificate by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Intact with only some minor encrustation and surface damage as shown; with a lovely green patina and the iron clapper still preserved inside.