A fine Persian Bronze fitting of Capricornus, Achaemenid Empire, ca. 550 - 330 BCE
Background: In the sky map of ancient Babylon, constellations had two different roles, thus developing into two overlapping traditions. One set represented the gods and their symbols, while the other portrayed rustic activities and provided a farming calendar. Many constellations were shared by these two traditions, with the most important being the twelve zodiac signs, plus several associated animals (the serpent, crow, eagle, and fish), which were all transmitted to the classical Greek sky map we still use today.
Capricornus is one of the earliest and more substantial of the constellations, marking the winter solstice and representing Enki, the beneficent god of earth and life, who dwelt in the abyssal waters. Enki was depicted with two streams running from his hands or shoulders and became Aquarius, while his symbols also formed the constellations of Capricornus; a goat-fish first seen on a seal of Ur just before 2000 BCE.
Condition: Outstanding deep green surface patina, the fitting is intact and in excellent condition overall. Custom mounted. A superb example of type.
Dimensions: Height: 1 3/8 inch (3.5 cm), Length: 1 5/8 inches (4.12 cm)
Provenance: Ex. Private NYC collection, acquired from Royal Athena Galleries, NYC., item #CNC50C, with sticker affixed to base.
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