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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Archive : Iron Age Bronze Dirk
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Iron Age Bronze Dirk - X.0387
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 1200 BC to 700 BC
Dimensions: 22.50" (57.2cm) high
Collection: Near Eastern
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: Great Britain
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Throughout the ages, civilization have risen and fallen based upon the sophistication of their weaponry. As metalworking became increasingly advanced, swords became denser and harder. The first great advance in sword making occurred during the Bronze Age. Swords were cast from molten metal and, once cooled, hammered to increase the density. Eventually, after the advent of iron and the coming of the Iron Age, weapons manufactured from this harder metal were able to cut through their softer bronze counterparts. The Iron Age highlighted the impressive advantage gained by those civilizations that had access to superior resources and advance technologies. While many older blade shapes were carried into the Iron Age, the use of iron led to a greater variety of blade types and styles, allowing the sword maker to create weapons that were also works of art.

From a very early period bronze was used for ceremonial and utilitarian purposes. Daggers and swords would have fallen into both categories, since they were used in war and as important elements in ceremonies. Representing symbols of prestige and rank, they would then have been interred in tombs as objects highly desirable in the afterlife. This particular dirk is very beautifully crafted, elegantly proportioned and in an excellent state of preservation. The hilt may originally been covered in wood or perhaps ivory. The fact that bronze was used for this dirk instead of more durable iron suggest that it likely played a ceremonial role as opposed to a military one. The impressive artistry of the work reinforces this theory. For such bronze work, highly skilled artisans would have been required, utilizing their talents for the elite group of people who could afford an object so powerful, and yet so graceful as this dirk.
- (X.0387)


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