Ancient Saka Indo-Scythian bronze weapons are ULTRA-RARE and their absence in any collection, private or institutional, proves that. This example is the ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND we have ever encountered in the last 30 years of our experience! We have offered in the past axes similar to this specimen with just the hammer peg protruding off the butt end, but never have we had one with the hammer end that resembled a radial spike mace. Its highly unique design adds deadly functionality to the hammer portion but also, a gorgeous aesthetic. The sight of such an intimidating weapon most definitely would have had a demoralizing effect on an enemy combatant! Not only would the hammer peg on the back end been able to penetrate armor and break bones or crush a skull, the smaller surrounding spikes on the end would have torn and shredded any flesh it struck. Since the spiked hammer end resembles a mace head, and mace heads were often carried by noble or high-ranking warriors, it is possible this was a weapon reserved for a noble-class or high-ranking soldier. That would explain its scarcity!
The bronze preservation of this axe is so amazing that it still had a satin sheen to the surface prior to our conservation treatment. The smooth patina further accentuates the stunning linear decorations of the body of the axe, as well as the mace-style hammer end. This is one of the rarest and finest eastern ancient bronze war axes we have offered in over two decades! In every way - rarity, beauty, uniqueness, this is truly a "crown-jewel" specimen for the most advanced collections of ancient militaria!
This artifact has been professionally cleaned and conserved in our lab, being treated with a special sealer developed and formulated by us specifically for ancient metal preservation. The patina shows beautiful traits only found in authentic ancient weapons. It is a patina like this that the finest ancient bronzes are prized for and it is a patina like this that brings a premium in price and value of the specimen. There is no active bronze disease. Bronze disease can develop on ancient bronze that is not properly cleaned and conserved. It produces a corrosive powder that will literally eat away an artifact over time and destroy it.
WARNING: There is a STAGGERING number of fake bronze weapons on the market. Many being sold as "authentic" were never meant to deceive and were made as far back as 100 years ago as exact reproductions for museums to sell in their gift shops. Other examples are modern fabrications specifically intended to fool unwitting buyers. As fine quality intact, original specimens become more scarce, the techniques to fake these objects have become highly advanced. We have personally handled numerous well-done fakes with extremely convincing patinas. The degree to which the fakers have been able to replicate patina to disguise their work requires an expert examination by highly experienced individuals. It is common to find very reasonably priced weapons that are made up of part original and part modern components or wholly modern pieces displaying elaborate artificial patinas. All purchases should include a written guarantee of authenticity from the seller, with unconditional and lifetime return policies regarding such guarantee, such as we provide.
The Saka were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples who historically inhabited the northern and eastern Eurasian Steppe and the Tarim Basin. Though closely related, the Sakas different from the Scythians of the Pontic Steppe and the Massagetae of the Aral Sea region, though they all form part of the wider Scythian cultures. Like the Scythians, the Sakas were ultimately derived from the earlier Andronovo culture. The Sakas were a group of Iranic peoples who spoke a language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. The Saka were racially Europoid.
Historical records and scientific studies date the Saka as early as the 8th century BC. In the Achaemenid-era,ancient Persian inscriptions found at Persepolis, dated to the reign of Darius I (r. 522-486 BC), record the Saka as having lived just beyond the borders of Sogdia. An inscription dated to the reign of Xerxes I (r. 486-465 BC) has them associated with the Dahae people of Central Asia.
In the 2nd century BC, many Sakas were driven by the Yuezhi from the steppe into Sogdia and Bactria and then to the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, where they were known as the Indo-Scythians. Other Sakas invaded the Parthian Empire, eventually settling in Sistan, while others may have migrated to the Dian Kingdom in Yunnan, China. In the Tarim Basin and Taklamakan Desert region of Northwest China, they settled in Khotan, Yarkand, Kashgar and other places, which were at various times vassals to greater powers, such as Han China and Tang China.
The art of the Saka was of a similar styles as other Iranian peoples of the steppes, which is referred to collectively as Scythian art. Ancient influences from Central Asia became identifiable in China following contacts of metropolitan China with nomadic western and northwestern border territories from the 8th century BC. The Chinese adopted the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes (descriptions of animals locked in combat), particularly the rectangular belt-plaques made of gold or bronze, and created their own versions in jade and steatite.
Following their expulsion by the Yuezhi, some Saka may also have migrated to the area of Yunnan in southern China. Saka warriors could also have served as mercenaries for the various kingdoms of ancient China. Excavations of the prehistoric art of the Dian civilization of Yunnan have revealed hunting scenes of Caucasoid horsemen in Central Asian clothing.
With origins dating back to prehistory, the empire of ancient Iran was one of the world's first superpower civilizations by the time it had taken form in the second millennium B.C.. The various cultures that can be included in the former ancient Iranian Empire stretched across an enormous geographical region extending beyond what is called the Iranian Plateau. To gain insight as to just how large this area was, the Iranian Plateau alone, includes Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and comprises approximately nearly 4 million square kilometers (almost 1.5 million square miles). The area of ancient Iran included not only the massive Iranian plateau made up of the tribes of the Medes, Persians, Bactrians and Parthians, but also included groups as far west as the Scythians (an eastern Scythian tribe existed in parallel in Central Asia), Sarmartians, Cimmerians and Alans populating the steppes north of the Black Sea. To the eastern boundary of the empire, the Saka tribes dominated, spreading as far as Xinjiang, China. From a very early period, the ancient Iranian peoples have been historically documented to exist in two separate continuums - a western civilization (Persia) and an eastern civilization (Scythia).
The beginnings of ancient Iran trace back to an influx into the Iranian cultural region of bands of horse-mounted steppe nomads from Central Asia, speaking Indo-European languages. Some settled in eastern Iran but other groups migrated deeper to the west settling in the Zagros Mountains. These first people descended from the proto-Iranians, originating from the Central Asian Bronze age culture of what is called the Bactria-Margiana Complex (aka Oxus Civilization), dated 2200-1700 B.C..
This historical achievements and the breadth of diverse cultures included of this once great empire are too vast to adequately credit in this brief synopsis. The Islamic conquest of Persia in the middle of the 7th century A.D. and the collapse of the Sassanid Empire marked the end of once geographically expansive and culturally diverse ancient superpower.
The term LURISTAN references artifacts made by a society of semi-nomadic people that once lived in the mountainous region of Northwest Iran. Little is known of this ancient culture but the most impressive traces are that of the bronze artifacts they left behind that can be found in parts of present-day Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. These include highly decorative equipment for their horses, ceremonial containers and numerous weapons ranging from simple utilitarian pieces on up to elaborate masterpieces of warfare.
It is theorized that the Luristan bronzes were crafted by the earliest existence of the Median empire but this has never been proven as written records of the Medes have not survived. The Medes were Indo-Iranian people originally from central Asia who settled in Northwest Iran in the 9th century BC and later defeated the Assyrian empire in 614 BC. Their success is short-lived and their empire which once stretched from central Iran to the Persian Gulf and Anatolia was overrun in 550 BC by the Persians.