A Luristan Bronze Openwork Pinhead, ca. early first millennium BCE


$3,500 USD

This openwork pin, cast from the lost-wax process, depicts a master of animals figure wearing a headdress and ribbed collar with arms raised, flanked by two inverted lions, framed in a crescent emerging from a lion mask at the base of the figure and terminating in a pair of caprid heads with ribbed collars.

Pins of this form were the most popular votive pins in Luristan. The diety shown on them all in the role of "master/mistress of animals" was of considerable eminence and power in the local pantheon. The central figure on these pinheads occasionally has a lion mask in place of a semi-human face or two such lion heads set side by side in profile, or they may assume the head and horns of a mouflon. As these pins were all cast using the lost-wax process, and therefore all individually modeled, no two examples are exactly alike. There is a large variety in the details, but all are related by the iconography of a mistress or master of animals framed by a crescent or square.

Ref: PRS Moorey, Catalogue of the Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford: The Clareon Press (1971), p. 205.

PRS Moorey, Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Adams Collection, London: Faber and Faber (1974), pp. 123-124.

Houshang Mahboubian, Art of Ancient Iran: Copper and Bronze, London: Philip Wilson (1997), pp. 191, 193.

Dimensions: Height: 5.5 inches (14 cm), Width: 3.5 inches (8.9 cm)

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.  On museum quality custom mount.

Provenance: From an important and internationally renowned single owner collection, assembled in the 1960s, with original inventory number: UA1091, thereafter private Virginia collection, acquired from the trade in 2011.

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