Urartian Bronze Belt, Circa 8th-7th Century BC

The sheet bronze band with chased and repoussé decoration consisting of uniform rows and columns of circles, squares, and various mythological beasts and animals, with columns of four ringed circles alternating with columns of bordered squares with a central circle, and animals with their forepaws raised, including winged lions, warriors on horseback, lions, bird centaurs with bows and arrows, and ibexes, ten columns in profile to the right and seven in profile to the left, the scene bordered by raised dots and with pierced holes for attachment around the edges, one terminal with a panel showing a vulture, sun disc above floral motifs, with a hinged attachment ring.

Urartu was also known as the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van. It was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but was conquered by the Medes in the early 6th century BC. Urartian belts, which are splendid specimens of their art, have been found in graves in Soviet Armenia and in the province of Kars.