Persian Bronze Horse Bit
The cheek pieces are cast in the form of striding horses with long tails falling to the integral base line. The shoulders and hind quarters are in relief and the backs are hollow except for the lower legs, with two short spikes projecting in towards the animal’s mouth. A flat fringed mane projects from between the short pricked ears, and the prominent eyes are outlined with raised rims. A raised collar around the base of the neck would indicate these horses have been domesticated. Two short loops project from the animal’s neck and hind quarters. The rod of the bit is slotted through circular holes and the ends are hammered flat and curled around into circles.
Literature: A single close example of a pair is illustrated in Nicolas Engel et al, ‘Bronzes du Luristan, Énigmes de l’Iran Ancien – IIIe-Ier Millénaire av. J.C.’ (Paris, 2008) pp. 111-112, no. 71
The two short spikes to each cheek piece are referred to as goad spikes. A similar horse bit now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York is illustrated in Prudence O Harper, ‘Ancient Near Eastern Art’ (New York, 1984) p. 41, no. 56.