Luristan Bronze Whetstone Socket


A Luristan bronze whetstone socket, featuring the cast forepart of a capra aegagrus with long horns. The piece still retains the (fragmentary) whetstone, and is secured by a bronze pin.

Date: Circa 900 - 700 BC
Condition: The curve of one of the horns worn through at one point, otherwise good metalwork, light surface deposits.


SKU: AS-1788 Category: Tags: , ,

The whetstone was used in order to sharpen edged weapons and tools. In Luristan, bronze whetstone sockets provided the opportunity for elaborate cast decoration, unlike anywhere else in the ancient Near East. Usually, whetstones were tools of the utmost simplicity, but the emergence of decorated sockets for ceremonial whetstones is documented from the late second millennium onwards.

Given the connection of whetstones with weapons used for battle and hunting, it can be assumed that zoomorphic handles bore, in addition to their decorative value, an apotropaic or magical value. This would have been considered to rub off, literally, onto the honed weapon.

To discover more about the Luristan Empire, please visit our relevant blog post: The Luristan Empire: Beauty of Bronze.

Weight 102.7 g
Dimensions L 9 x W 4 cm



Reference: For examples of the type see items 31-33; Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Adam Collection; PRS Moorey.