This pair of stylized ibex are rendered recumbent, their legs folded in muscular relief beneath them. The depiction of their antlers differs considerably. The facial characteristics are fairly consistent with large protuberant eyes, ears pricked up and mouth in an expression of benign tranquility.
The nomadic peoples of the Eurasian Steppes, by necessity, valued only those things that were portable or of use in trade with sedentary communities. Hence, their art is often in the form of functional objects. The influence of the art of the nomads can be witnessed right across the Eurasian continent in the widespread use of animal imagery even as far as China.
Personal items such as these ornaments had an important role in a world in which luxury items and superfluous things had no place. They were the sole means of artistic and personal expression and came to have significance as status symbols.
Boisgirard, Paris, March 1996, lot 72.
Published: T.Pang, Treasures of the Eurasian Steppes: Animal Art from 800 BC to 200 AD (New York, 1998), pls 40 and 42.