The Man-Bull From Persepolis

by David Padfield

Persepolis Man-Bull at Oriental Institute.

The image to the right is from a display in the Persian Room at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago. The Oriental Institute displays a major collection of archaeological artifacts from the ancient Near East. Bible students enjoy visiting the galleries to see inscriptions and artifacts from the lands of the Bible. The museum is located at 1155 E. 58th St. in Chicago, Illinois.

This limestone monument is from the reign of Xerxes (486 B.C.-465 B.C.), and was discovered by members of the Persepolis Expedition in Iran.

"The man-bull has the limbs, body and ears of a bull, the feathers of a bird on his haunches, and the face and beard of a man. He wears large, dangling earrings and a tall crown decorated with three pairs of horns and surmounted by a band of rosettes and feathers. In the ancient Near East, horned crowns were worn by deities; this creature's horned crown indicates that he was a god although, undoubtedly, a minor one." (Description as given on the display board).

Other exhibits include displays of ancient writing devices, such as were used by the scribes of Egypt, and examples of Egyptian mud bricks, like those spoken of in the book of Exodus. One of the most impressive displays is of the human-headed winged bull that once adorned the entrance to the throne room of the Assyrian King Sargon II (721-705 B.C.) in his capital city of Dur-Sharrukin, known today as Khorsabad.