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"Two-chicken-headed god or hero battling rabid dog with wings and machete while shoving wild boar over cliff."
Bactria/Margiana, 1900BCE
16cm Stone, silver, gold

Bactria/Margiana was located on the Oxus and Murghab rivers in modern Afghanistan. By about 2200 BCE permanent settlements with distinctive forms of architecture and culture had been established, plus active trade with parts of Persia, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley.

This exquisitely-executed sculpture has been a mystery ever since it was discovered in 1982, as it seems to have no purpose whatsoever, and depicts a hitherto unknown god or hero in the most unlikely of positions. Too big for an ornament, too small for a weapon, not a fitting subject for temple decoration, it is thought to be part of another object, possibly a pipe. Bactria was the home of the earliest attempts to cultivate both hashish and opium, and the subject matter of the sculpture has led some investigators to believe that it represents the equivalent of a Surgeon General's warning about overindulgence in either drug by depicting one possible consequence: the bad trip.

Another school of thought holds that it is the earliest known preliterate superhero comic book.


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