Ancient Near, East, modern day Iran, Luristan, ca. 1000 to 700 BCE. An incredible example of a bronze hollow tubular standard in the style of a "master of animals". This motif features god-like figures holding the bodies - sometimes necks - of mirrored, stylized zoomorphic creatures. The figures' arms encircle the zoomorphs in what some have seen as an image of control. This example, one of the largest we have seen, features multiple groups of animals - ibexes, dragons, eagles, and cattle - and a being with four anthropomorphic faces, all stacked atop each other. These stand on long, human-like legs above a bell-shaped tube that may have been used for attachment. Size: 2.8" W x 13.6" H (7.1 cm x 34.5 cm); 14.75" H (37.5 cm) on included custom stand.
Many of these standards were removed from Luristan in the 1800s and early 1900s without proper archaeological excavation; only two have been scientifically excavated. As a result, their true function is unknown. Suggestions for their interpretation have ranged from the religious -- depictions of deities, idols, talismans, etc. - to the utilitarian - parts of chariots or used in funerary rituals.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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