Ancient Near East, northwestern Iran, Luristan, ca. 1000 to 600 BCE. A gorgeous bronze sword formed via the lost-wax (cire perdue) technique with an elegant yet deadly style. The blade is presented with an elongated triangular form with a trifurcated midrib, sharpened edges, and a pointed tip. An intricate bident-form hand guard wraps around the end and separates the blade from the scale-textured handle and roundel finger grips. A stocky tang projects from the end of the handle, suggesting a perishable pommel end was present at one time. Shorter sword forms like this example were efficient in battle due to their lightweight construction and maneuverability without being overly cumbersome. Covered in lustrous layers of green patina, this is a fabulous example of high-quality ancient weaponry! Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 25.5" L x 3" W (64.8 cm x 7.6 cm); 13" H (33 cm) on included custom stand.
It seems that swords like this were not just made to be used in battle, but instead to show status or as votive weapons. There is a strong tradition in the ancient Near East of swords and other weapons being associated with the gods. For example, a rock carving dating to ca. 1300 BCE from this region shows a scene of the gods of the Underworld, including one who is holding a sword similar to this one. Similarly, a golden bowl excavated at Hasanlu (northwestern Iran) shows three swords of similar form to this one that are associated with three deities from the Hittite pantheon. Whatever its original function, this would have been a spectacular weapon to behold, with a deep, shining surface when polished. Whoever commissioned this sword must have been a high status individual, perhaps seeking to honor their gods by handling such a weapon.
Published in "Beloved By Time: Four Millennia of Ancient Art." Fortuna Fine Arts, Ltd., New York, 2000, p. 26, fig. 47.
Cf. Mahboubian, Houshang. "Art of Ancient Iran: Copper and Bronze." London, 1997, pp. 312-313, fig. 396.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1970s
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