This is a classic style royal baton mace head of the ancient Iranian Luristan Bronze Age culture. Examples of this mace can be seen in several of the world's finest ancient Near Eastern bronze collections. This one in particular happens to one of the larger examples of all types known. The shaft is elaborately decorated with alternating columns of snake and double wheat designs. This was an effective striking weapon likely used by high-ranking soldiers or royal subjects due to its extremely decorative design. In battle, maces like this were often used by commanders to display rank when giving orders in battle and leading soldiers, inspiring leadership and power. There is some interesting and important evidence of battle use on this piece which confirms its utility as not simply a decorative item of status but one that is an effective weapon and used as such.
At a whopping 10 inches in length, this is the largest example of this type we have handled and ever offered. In addition, it displays the most colorful patina and best copper preservation possible, beneath a rich series of layers of rich green and blue copper encrustations. Simply put, you will not find a nicer or more impressive example of this INVESTMENT CLASS ancient bronze weapon
Due to the intricate designs that pose problems in the lost-wax casting methods used in their manufacture, often examples of these maces show casting defects but this specimen is complete with no missing parts or regions. The patina is superb with rich green malachite and blue azurite encrustations. The entire piece is without any cracks and the shaft hole is intact showing this mace would have been mounted on a handle or pole. This style is unlike any other mace that comes from not only the ancient Near East, but of ANY other bronze age culture. It was a highly unusual weapon in its day and this specimen has been extravagantly embellished with ever possible decoration these are known for.
This is the largest of this type we have ever listed! A top recommendation for the collector of RARE ancient bronze weapons of aesthetic appeal.
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. No active bronze disease. Bronze disease can be a problem in bronze artifacts and untreated, it can literally eat away an artifact over a short time of a matter of years and turn the piece to powder.
WARNING: There is an increasing number of fake Near Eastern (Luristan) bronze weapons on the market. As fine quality intact, original specimens become more scarce and techniques have become more sophisticated to fake these weapons. We have personally handled numerous extremely 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 from the dealer a written guarantee of authenticity with unconditional and lifetime return policies regarding such guarantee.
With origins dating back to pre-history, 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.