I didn’t know about this object until yesterday, when it was brought into a twitter convo. Needless to say I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The keen eyed Clare Rowan noticed a potential connection to a Cr. no. 6 obv symbol of the Papius series (images below) and I was deeply skeptical at first. Part of my skepticism in the knee jerk reaction came from how shiny the object looked in discussion on Roger Pearse’s blog. I thought they were gilt and thus I was like that can’t be real–must be a forgery for the titillation of some 19th century collector. But we must consider all options.
The BM description leaves some thing to be desired.
Do you know of a fuller publication not (yet) known to me the BM or Pearse?
They are briefly discussed in Tracy 2013 Medieval Castration p. 43-44.
To start, why couldn’t the left hand topper not be Attis (castrated consort of Cybele)?
Also why are there flame/horn like spiky hair protrusions from the horse heads?
I also worry that the deities down the sides haven’t been well identified
The order seems possibly cosmological. Both sides terminate with bull heads. Notice a similar cosmological theme in this plate:
Notice that the whole where the missing bottom pin or screw would be placed
So now the question is now not what is the funny triangle but rather what do horns have to do with clamps? I don’t know enough about animal husbandry….
I’m now reading Heeren 2009 who is not so fixated on the castration explanation of the tools. He suggests these items might be a twitch used in horse care. He brings up the incredibly weight of the metal clamps that survive that would make them less functional for either castration or twitching a horse as the weight of the object would cause more pain than if a lighter wooden tool was used.
So maybe its a clamp but not for twitching or castrating? What else do we do to animals with a clamp?