Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Horses of Bi’r Hima

Bi’r Hima is a rock art site in Saudi Arabia where the carvings were added to over thousands of years. 

Most of the panels look like fairly convention Bronze or Iron Age stuff.

But then there is this remarkable horse, so famous it has a name, Al Ukhdood. I have to think that this is from the calssical period, but it hasn't been dated so it remains a mystery.


G. Verloren said...

On that last piece, those legs look far more like a lion's than a horse's to me. Also, it seems to have a horn or similar? Or is that perhaps merely damage or wear that occurred over time? It almost looks as if it were originally a lion (which would explain the proportions and legs), but then at some point the face and head was altered/expanded into a horse's. Or perhaps it was always like that, and is some sort of mythological hybrid? Suffice it to say, I think it's not just a horse.

John said...

It does look like it might have paws or a horn; perhaps the mystery of it is one reason why it's so famous. I mean, the only other petroglyphs I can think of with names are the ones that look like space aliens. But whatever it is, the artistic style is radically different from that of the other scenes.

G. Verloren said...

I got curious about the name, and some quick looking about suggests there has been some kind of confusion or something lost in translation somewhere.

Al Ukhdood / Ukhdud means "the ditch", and discounting a seemingly unrelated legend about "Ashad al Ukhdud" (the people of the ditch) regarding religious martyrs burned in a ditch, I can only assume that rather than being the name of the stone or the carving upon it, Al Ukhdud might instead refer to the site in which this stone was found.

That would coincide with your perception that it is highly unusual to have a named petroglyph, as it would mean this one is NOT actually named, per se.