Luristan Bronze Ceremonial Macehead


A finely cast Luristan bronze ceremonial macehead. The piece features a cylindrical base which expands into an ellipsoid knob, decorated with a pattern of cross-hatched grooves and rhombic ridges. The knob is framed on the top and bottom with three encircling, horizontal bands. The macehead is covered with earthly encrustation that contrasts attractively with the dark olive and green patination.

Dimensions of the macehead without the stand: L 9.4cm x W 5cm

Date: Late 3rd Millennium BC
Provenance: Ex. collection of a London gentleman, 1990s.
Condition: Fine condition. The macehead is intact with some chipping to both the top and bottom edge. Patination and earthly encrustations to the surface. Mounted on a custom-made wooden stand.

In stock

SKU: SK-161 Category: Tags: ,

Luristan, the central area on Mesopotamia’s western frontier, developed sophisticated and prolific metal-working technology from the third millennium BC. Manufacture did not suffer a 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 220.6 g
Dimensions W 6.8 x H 11.6 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, item 62.225.4

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