Eastern Europe / Western Asia, Scythian culture, Ukraine, ca. 5th to 3rd century BCE. A pretty copper dagger, cast in a single piece, with a handle nearly as long as its blade. The blade is triangular, with a raised central rib. A short, narrow guard separates blade from handle; the handle is long, flat, and rectangular. The pommel mirrors the form of the guard but is somewhat shorter. The handle was probably once wrapped in leather, bone, ivory, or some other organic material. Size: 1.5" W x 8.25" H (3.8 cm x 21 cm); 8.95" H (22.7 cm) on included custom stand.
Much of what we know of this culture comes from the incredibly rich burials of elite Scythians. Burial structures during this time were ovoid or rectangular pits, sometimes with wooden structures and, in the region of the North Black Sea, catacombs. Packed inside these tombs were a profusion of rich items, including an array of copper or copper alloy weapons like this one. For example, the Ukrainian tomb of a female Scythian warrior who died in combat - with a battle axe through the skull and a bronze arrowhead in her leg - contained a massive armored belt, a quiver with twenty bronze arrows with painted shafts, glass beads, pearls, silver and bronze bracelets, a bronze mirror, a tray filled with food for the afterlife - and, close to her body, two sharp copper alloy weapons.
Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection
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