Cypriot Votive rider on two-headed horse: Archaic II (600 -500BC)

Votive rider on two-headed horse

Bichrome Ware. As above except that the horse has two heads. This may be a cultic reference, since though rare it is a known variant. Explanations that the intention is to represent two horses seem weak, except that a few seem to show one rider on two horses (with bodies and inner legs fused) as though doing a circus trick, or simply advertising he owns several horses. Although Karageorghis groups all two headed horses as Archaic I, stylistically this figurine appears more like Archaic II, possibly from Amathus.

The wide, flat front possibly depicting padded horse-armour, unusually extends well below the horse’s chest, forked into two legs at its bottom, and shows faint remains of black painted geometric patterns. Tail extending between back legs. Smaller manes and muzzles than usual, so not of the Salamis style, with outer ears and pricked nostrils depicted. Eyes of horses and rider depicted by flattened clay pellets. Bearded rider with prominent nose, bent arms, left forearm with(?) duplicate extension below, hands holding the horse’s neck, his long, straight legs to top of horse front legs.  Hat with indented crown. Extensive red paint on rider’s and horse’s backs and rider’s cap.

Mended at neck of one horse, extensive loss of black paint. (TL tested, with paperwork.)

Cf. V Karageorghis 1995.  p.78-83 Pl.XLI-XLV;   p.69-70 Cat 49-52, Pl XXXIV (7-9) XXXV (1); Art Antique de Chypre au Musée du Louvre A Caubet, A Hermary & V Karageorghis, Athenes 1992. p.97 fig.110 ; Metropolitan Museum MET.; Two headed horse MET 74.51.1766.

Size: 10.4 x 14.7 x 5.1c

(Ex private collection, West Hollywood, California USA, then ex Lin Emery (1926-2021) collection, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (acquired before 2000).)

(Aquired Acquired from Artemis Gallery auction, lot 12, Louisville CO, USA, 30th Mar)

(DJ 247 AN 227)