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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Luristan Art : Luristan Bronze Ibex Finial
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Luristan Bronze Ibex Finial - AM.0182
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 900 BC to 600 BC
Dimensions: 14" (35.6cm) high x 3.5" (8.9cm) wide
Collection: Near Eastern
Medium: Bronze

Location: UAE
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This finial was produced in the era when the Luristan metal workshops were at their most prolific, c. 900-600 B.C. Similar designs can be found on a range of items including horse gear, axes and hair and clothing pins. These were all burial items distinguished by the large repertory of animal motifs, both real and imagined. By this period bronze was reserved for decorative artefacts that symbolised social standing among the communities of the Zagros mountains; more mundane, utilitarian objects were made of iron. The hallmark of Luristan wares is the tendency to elongate the necks, tails and bodies of the animals to produce graceful curves and arches. The re-discovery of the splendour of Luristan metalwork began in the 1930s and made considerable progress after World War II. The absence of relevant written records makes their complex imagery difficult to interpret in specific religious terms but it is likely that they represent local deities of some kind. It has been suggested that such elaborate bronze items must have been the preserve of the tribal leaders, a warrior class with the means to equip themselves and their households for war.

This elegant piece depicts two ibex arranged symmetrically around a small ring. The horns each have three small protrusions on the front side. The elongated necks and bodies of these creatures form slender s-curves. The tails are created from a twisted, rope-like cord which is damaged slightly on the right-hand side. The finial itself is adorned with circular bands and the base has a triangular motif around the edge. Although the precise function of this piece is unknown, it is clearly a finely crafted object that would have conferred considerable prestige on its original owner.

For similar examples see G. Markoe ed., Ancient Bronzes, Ceramics and Seals, (Los Angeles, 1981). - (AM.0182)


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