Luristan bronze comes from the province of Lorestan, a region situated in the Zagros Mountains. In ancient times a number of nomadic populations, such as the Medes, the Kassites and eventually the Persians, settled in the area. Due to the nomadic nature of the tribes, none of the Luristan bronzes were of great size, since it was required for them to be light and portable. Their artwork mainly comprises ornaments, vessels and weapons. Most of Luristan bronze items have been recovered in funerary contexts, suggesting that such weapons would have been used not only in everyday life but also with ceremonial purposes.
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.