Luristan Master of the Animals Finial


A Luristan bronze finial of the ‘Master of the Animals’ type. The central anthropomorphic tube bears a Janus-head with prominent nose and ears, and he holds off a snarling beast on either side.

Date: Circa 8th - 7th century BC
Provenance: Ex major London collection collected by S.M. 1970-2010
Condition: Fine condition with some patination and earthy encrustations on the surface. Mounted on a custom made stand.


The Master of the Animals was a supernatural protector of game, the ruler of the forest, and the guardian of the entire animal kingdom. He is depicted as a human figure standing between the heads, necks, and stylised bodies of equestrian creatures presented in profile. The figure’s grasp on the animals has been interpreted by some as a sign of control.

The precise function of objects like this is unknown, and remains one of the mysteries of antiquity. Suggestions range from the religious – depictions of deities, idols, talismans, etc. – to the utilitarian – adornments for chariots or articles used in funerary rituals.

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

Weight 117.2 g
Dimensions W 5.8 x H 13.2 cm



Reference: For a similar item, Christie’s, Sale 3748, Lot 156.

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