Ancient Near East, Luristan or other cultural area around the Caspian Sea, ca. 1200 to 800 BCE. A superb bronze spear head of a leaf-shaped form with rounded shoulders and an elongated blade, cast in a single piece. A prominent grooved midrib extends the length of the blade to a thick shank adorned with several spiralized grooves and flared terminals. The slender rectangular tang projects from beneath the shank, allowing it to be fashioned inside a hollowed slot in a pole fashioned from wood or metal. The entire weapon is covered in layers of lovely green, russet, and brown patina, with some areas of the original bronze peeking through. Size: 24" L x 2" W (61 cm x 5.1 cm)
Blades of this kind, with the shank separating the blade from the tang, occur in the Gurgan region of northern Iran, particularly associated with Tepe Hissar, Tureng Tepe, and Marlik. All three are important sites in Iranian archaeology. Tepe Hissar and Turang Tepe were a urban centers that had architectural and trade connections with similar cultures in Afghanistan and Seistan in southeastern Iran, demonstrating a wide geographic area of influence. Marlik is a mound that contained fifty-three rich tombs. Within these tombs, researchers found a large number of bronze spearheads, which they have theorized were very popular weapons for Marlik's warriors, who lived in a forested, mountainous region. This type of spearhead is a Type III, classified by its long, tapering triangular blade with a projected midrib. This particular weapon does not bear marks of having been repeatedly sharpened for use, as some from the area do, so it was probably made specifically to accompany a warrior in death.
Provenance: private New York, USA collection
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Surface wear and minor abrasions commensurate with age, slight bending to overall form, small nicks and roughness to blade, shank, and tang, and some fading to grooved details, otherwise intact and excellent. Light earthen deposits and nice green, brown, and russet patina throughout.