A Near Eastern Bronze "Ear" Pommel Sword, Late Bronze Age, ca. 1200-800 BCE
Object No: MX1708
The late bronze age Luristan culture was renowned for their bronze workmanship and this cast bronze sword is an excellent illustration of their skill. Cast using the lost-wax process, this sword is a rare example of the double ear pommel type found in the great museums of the world.
This well-balanced weapon features a slender square hilt that joins to a pommel that divides at right angles to the blade into two finely decorated semi-circular "ears". The pommel features a semi-circular opening in the center of each ear with a line around it as a margin and ridges along its back. A rectangular guard carefully designed with crescentic horns extends down to firmly grip the upper end of the double-edged blade. The narrow blade has a low rectangular midrib that tapers regularly with an almost straight cutting edge to a point, making it most suitable for thrusting and cutting.
It is the austere perfection of line and proportion that makes this weapon so beautiful and so terrible. Similar examples can be found in all the fine museums of the world, see: Moorey P.R.S. "Catalogue of Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum" (1971), pg. 80 fig 63, Mahboubian, H. "Art of Ancient Iran" pg 304 #386(a); (b) and pg 314-315 #397a-I, Moorey PRS "Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Adam Collection" pg 58 #28 and Muscarella "Bronze and Iron, Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art" pgs 282-285 #385-390.
This type of pommel represents the north-western Persian version of weapons evolved from Elamite or Mesopotamian flange-hilted blades. They are found throughout the northern regions of Persia in both bronze and iron, and sometimes with a combination of bronze hilt and iron blade.
Dimensions: Height: 28 1/4 inches (71.8 cm)
Condition: Overall blue-green patina with encrustation areas, intact and in good condition overall. Presented on a museum quality custom mount.
Provenance: Estate of Armenian philanthropist Julian Hovsepian, acquired prior to 1980.
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