A Divine Relic: Armenia’s History Museum Reveals Secrets of an Ancient Kingdom

Nestled in the vibrant city of Yerevan, the History Museum of Armenia is a sanctuary of cultural heritage, inviting the curious to traverse time and immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Armenia’s past. Among its myriad exhibits, the “Urartu/Bianili” hall stands out, harboring a singular relic that unveils the spiritual essence of the ancient Kingdom of Van, which flourished in the Armenian Highlands millennia ago.

From Earth to Exhibit: The Journey of Karmir Blur’s Bronze Horse Head

Capturing the gaze of visitors is a bronze horse head statue from the 7th century BC. This captivating artifact emerged from the soil of Karmir Blur, an archaeological treasure that continues to enlighten us about the illustrious civilization of the Kingdom of Van.

Uncovered in 1957 within the wine cellars of Teishebaini Castle, a once-majestic stronghold of the Kingdom of Van, this sculpture’s voyage from a buried relic to a museum centerpiece is as riveting as the artistry it displays.

Illuminating a Sacred Bond: Horses and the Sun God Shivini

Within the divine hierarchy of the Kingdom of Van, the horse is no mere animal—it is a celestial symbol, deeply entwined with Shivini, the revered sun god. Ancient depictions often show Shivini majestically guiding a chariot led by horses, illustrating the profound spiritual link between the deity and these noble creatures.

This exquisitely crafted bronze horse head is far more than metal and artistry—it embodies the ancient people’s deep veneration for Shivini and serves as a vivid portal into their sacred world.

Crafting Divinity: A Sculpture’s Tale of Skill and Dedication

Beyond its symbolic gravity, this statue is a striking testament to the Kingdom of Van’s artistic mastery. The intricacy of the horse’s mane and expressive countenance are the work of skilled hands. This level of detail highlights the advanced metallurgical prowess, who, with flame and forge, breathed life into bronze, transforming it into divine homage.

A Timeless Connection: The Encounter at the History Museum

As modern visitors encounter this bronze sculpture in the History Museum of Armenia, the experience is transformative. They stand not merely as observers of an ancient artifact, but as participants in a timeless communion with the divinity revered by a long-lost civilization.

The “Urartu/Bianili” hall is more than a room—it is an invitation, beckoning us to voyage further into the ‘Kingdom of the Gods,’ and to traverse the spiritual and complex terrain of the ancient Armenian Highlands.

Vigen Avetisyan

Image Source: Հայաստանի պատմության թանգարան/History Museum of Armenia

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