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Standard of Ur and other objects from the Royal Graves
Intentionally buried as part of an elaborate ritual, this ornate object tells us so much, but also too little.
Athanadoros, Hagesandros, and Polydoros of Rhodes, Laocoön and his Sons
The writhing agony of the Trojan Laocoon made this Hellenistic masterpiece famous throughout history.
The Great Relief at Mamallapuram
This extraordinary carving is one of the largest relief sculptures in the world. Scholars still debate its meaning.
A-Level: Tipu’s Tiger
Made for a sultan, this unusual automaton emblematizes the fierce hostility between British and Indian rulers.
Illustration from the Akbarnama
Under Akbar the Great, the Mughal style of painting blended Indian, Persian, and Western artistic traditions.
Snakes shedding their skin was a powerful metaphor for the Aztecs and is reflected in their pantheon of gods.
Bahram Gur Fights the Karg (Horned Wolf)
In this hunting scene from the Persian Book of Kings, the ruler Bahram lives up to his nickname “Gur,” or swift.
Ceremonial Palm Wine Vessel (Cameroon Grasslands peoples)
Lavishly decorated with expensive materials for the chief’s exclusive use, this isn’t your average wine bottle.
Linguist Staff (Okyeamepoma) (Asante peoples)
While its itsy bitsy American counterpart climbed up the waterspout, the spider shown here brought wisdom to Ghana.
Buffalo (Bocio) (Fon peoples)
Symbols for the Fon kings, which were determined in a divination ceremony, supported and enhanced his authority.
Multiple points of view are combined in the decoration of this vessel, tip it and see!
Kòmò Helmet Mask (Kòmòkunw) (Bamana peoples)
Intended to intimidate, this headdress was used by a member of the powerful Kumo society of blacksmiths.