Ceremonial Luristan Bronze Macehead

£ 300.00

A Luristan ceremonial cast bronze macehead of bulbous shape. The rounded knob is flanked by grooved bands: a triple at the top and a double at the base, with the top bands also featuring a fixing hole. This mace head is unusual and intriguing in lacking a cylindrical shaft, and the areas of turquoise patina add further appeal to the piece.

Date: Early first millennium BC.
Period: Iron Age
Condition: Stable bronze; complete and in fine condition, apart from a large chip at the base’s rim. There are light encrustations and patches of attractive green patina across the surface.

In stock

SKU: OB-15 Category: Tag:

The Luristan empire, based on the south western area of the Zagros Mountains, developed sophisticated and prolific metal-working technology from the third millennium BC. With manufacture not suffering decline until the seventh century BC, over this extensive period metalworkers were essential for supplying and arming both local wealthy patrons and the warring factions of the day.

A macehead may have been mounted on a shaft as a symbol of rank, perhaps a derivative from a weapon of similar form. Throughout the ancient world, maceheads varied significantly, and we know of a great number with different styles and decorations. Several important examples were shaped by the local metalworkers in Luristan and Gilan from the third millennium BC. These mace heads may not only have served a purpose in warfare, but also in religious contexts – perhaps being associated with piety in Luristan. Indeed, maceheads played an important role as votive offerings in shrines across Mesopotamia.

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

Weight 268.4 g
Dimensions W 3.9 x H 4.7 cm



Reference: For details of maces, see pp 90-97; Catalogue of the Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum by P.R.S. Moorey; Oxford University Press 1971.

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