Ancient Near East, northwestern Iran, Luristan, ca. 1000 to 650 BCE. An elaborate bronze sword cast in a single piece with a large crescent-shaped pommel, representing some of the finest Bronze Age metal casting from the ancient world. Comes with custom stand. Size: 2.5" W x 17.3" H (6.4 cm x 43.9 cm); height on stand 18.5" (47 cm)
The grip has a series of discs that would probably have had leather or some other perishable material wrapped around them. The body of the blade has a crescent whose ends almost touch at the guard; below that is a ridge composed of several narrow raised lines. The upper portion of the blade has round stamped designs in at least two places; the deep green patina may be hiding some shallower stamped impressions. The blade is triangular, with edges that flare above the guard.
The region of Luristan, which encompasses the rugged Zagros Mountain chain, is famous for its bronze work that was above and beyond the skill level of contemporary groups. The affluent group in Luristan society that patronized the metalworking industry and purchased fine items like this sword were nomadic horsemen. They would travel into towns and purchase swords and other bronze and iron objects from craftsmen there. Although these horsemen were pre-literate, we know from the records of the Elamites and other southern neighbors that these tribesmen functioned as mercenaries in the constant warfare between the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Elamites. When they died, they were buried in rock-covered tombs with their swords.
Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection formed over the period between 1980 and 2000.
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