This magnificent silver vessel in the form of a standing bull dates back from the era when the Persian civilization was first united under the rule of Cyrus the Great. Cyrus conquered one of the largest civilizations the world has known, uniting various cultures together under a centralized government based on tolerance, both religious and political. In fact, the Persian Empire is known as the first truly multicultural empire. As the head of a political system encompassing many diverse lands and the peoples who inhabited them, the Persians benefited from exposure to a variety of artistic styles. This silver bull is believed to have come from the Medians, close neighbors to the Persians and the first peoples to be absorbed into the Persian Empire. Palace walls in the ruins of Persepolis, the Persian capital, depict processions of Medians offering gifts to the Persian Emperors. Perhaps this bull was once such gift. The work consists of seventeen individual parts of hammered repousse and cast silver that fit together by means of sleeve joints, solder and rivets. The tail is made separately as well as a small lid on the back. An electrum/gold foil highlight decorates the forehead and the base of the horns. A spout located on the underside of the belly indicates that this work most likely functioned as a ritual vessel in a pre-Achaemenid temple or palace.