A Luristan Double Bell Pommel Bronze Sword, ca. 1000 - 800 BC
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This large Luristan bronze sword is an excellent example of the double bell-formed pommel style. The plain grip and elliptical open guard with squared shoulders secure the blade firmly in position around the shoulders and on the blade. Prominent blood channels follow the length of the narrow blade that tapers regularly with almost straight cutting edges to a point. According to Muscarella, laboratory examinations have demonstrated that each sword and its added units were hand-forged and not cast as one piece, although molds were probably used as forms for the details (Moorey 1971a, 318). That each sword was individually handcrafted is indicated by the fact that although all the attributes are very close in appearance and conform to a single design, no two seem to be alike in all details, in blade and hilt sizes and shapes, in weight, or in the sizes and proportions of the component units (Spence and Needler 1955, 15; Maryon et al. 1961, 175, 182; Damien 1962, 25ff.; Lefferts 1964, 59f.; Ternbach 1964, 47ff. ; France-Lanord 1969, 78, 82).
It is the austere perfection of line and proportion that makes this weapon so beautiful and so terrible. For related examples cf: Moorey, P.R.S. "Catalogue of Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum", #58 & 59 and Muscarella, O. "Bronze and Iron, Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art", item #166 and Mahoubian "Art of Ancient Iran" (1999) item #394.
Condition: Intact and in very good condition, a well-balanced weapon. Presented on a museum-quality custom stand.
Dimensions: Length: 25 inches (63.5 cm)
Provenance: ex Axel Guttmann Collection, Germany, thereafter private Virginia collection.