martedì 10 giugno 2014

Il Toro ed il triangolo


Fig. 1  a. tempio di Ninhursag a Ubaid, Iraq del nord, ca. 2500 a.C. (1) ; b. Testa mummificata di toro Apis, Egitto (1); c. Khirbet Kerak (Beth Yerah = città del dio Luna) (1), Israele, EBAIII (2700-2200 a.C.) (1); d. santurario di 'Ay, Palestina, EBAIII (2700-2200 a.C.); e. Jericho, Palestina,  Tomba D-12, EBAII (3000-2700 a.C.) (2); 


Fig 2. a. Susa, Iran occidentale, ca. 2500 a.C. (1); b. 'Ay, Palestina, EBAIII (2700-2200 a.C.) (1); c. Testa di toro, Palestina, EBAIII (2700-2200 a.C.), Metropolitan Museum of Arts; d. toro Apis, Egitto (664-332 a.C.), Metropolitan Museum of Arts

Le antichissime teste di toro con triangolo della terra di Canaan (oggi Israele e Palestina), in osso o pietra, sono peculiari per la presenza di fori laterali (fig. 1c,d,e e fig. 2b,c). La funzione di questi fori non è chiara, ma le teste (se ne conoscono 8) provengono tutte da luoghi di culto o da sepolture. Sono le più antiche che rechino questo marchio distintivo sulla fronte e risalgono alla precoce età del bronzo II e III, cioè al 3000-2200 a.C. (1,2). La più antica è frose quella proveniente dalla tomba D12 di jericho, risalente alla EBII (3000-2700 a.C.) (figura 1e e 3)(2).

Fig. 3 Dettaglio del toro di Jericho della tomba multipla D 12, 3000-2700 a.C. (dal rif 2)

 La van Dijk scrive: "Callaway (1974:61), studying the bulls’ heads from Canaan, suggests the triangle was the symbol of a deity, but warns that “little is known about the deities and religion in Canaan in the Early Bronze Age.” The triangle did not only adorn bulls’ heads from Canaan, but also from Egypt,  Mesopotamia and Anatolia. The triangular inlay cannot have been identified with one universal deity, because this theology simply did not exist at the time. Gods with similar characteristics from different areas were identified with each other. The triangle could have been identified with a specific type of deity.[..]Only a handful of decorative bulls’ heads have been found in Canaan, but these pieces are so similar that they must have had the same function and meaning. They all have a triangular impression on the forehead which would have held an inlay, and all have holes for attachment. Although it is uncertain exactly how they functioned, they seem to have been religious in nature, and at least some may have played a role in rituals at the gates of cities. " (1)

Sebbene il triangolo sia tradizionalmente associato al toro Apis, non vi sono molti reperti archeologici con questo marchio; leggiamo ancora dal rif. 1: "In Egypt the triangle on a bull’s forehead was associated specifically with the Apis Bull. One of the distinguishing marks of the Apis was a white mark on the bull’s forehead. Rawlinson (1996:237) translates Herodotus’ Histories III:28 to read that the Apis is “black, with a square spot of white upon his forehead.” Cooney (1971:18) in contrast, describes the mark on the forehead to be a triangle. A mummified head of an Apis bull in the Louvre contains a white triangle on its forehead , and Kater-Sibbes (1975:48-52) describes a series of bronze statuettes of the Apis bull from unknown provenances which had triangles on their foreheads. The iconographic evidence therefore supports the reading that this mark was a triangle. Although the Apis bull did, at least in some cases, exhibit a triangle on its forehead, it was not worshipped in other areas of the ancient Near East during the early periods in which the bulls’ heads were manufactured. The triangle can therefore not exclusively mark the Apis bull."


(1) Renate Marian van Dijk, 2011, The motif of a bull in the ancient near East : an iconographic study, University of South Africa, MA thesis


(2) Maura Sala, The stone bull’s head from Tomb D12 in the Palestinian contextin L. Nigro, Tell es-Sultan/Jericho in the Early Bronze II (3000-2700 BC): the rise of an early Palestinian city. A synthesis of the results of four archaeological expeditions (ROSAPAT 05), Rome 2010, pp. 225-228