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LOT 0455

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,400 - 4,540
USD ($) 3,810 - 5,080

Opening Bid
£1,800 (EUR 2,042; USD 2,285) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Western Asiatic Amlash Infantry or Horse Archer's Shield

Early 1st millennium BC

A hammered bronze shield, strongly convex with the surface showing decoration in repoussé, ornamented with six concentric bands beginning from the centre; it shows embossed geometric motifs with dot-punched outlined images, small narrow rectangular bars, a concentric pearled band, and the same motive repeated in the last two bands disposed in a circle before the edge; the flat edge still shows thirty-three holes for the fixing of the leather (or other organic material) lining; a central hole was probably destined to support a pointed boss (usually of conoid shape), while the existence of two groups of three holes served functionally for the fastening, through rivets, of the strap acting like a grip for the arm; another two holes, of which only one has been preserved, were intended for the strap, acting as a baldric for the shield if worn on the shoulder or on the side; mounted on a custom-made display frame. 2.2 kg, 52cm including frame; shield 42cm (20 1/2"; shield 16 1/2"). Fine condition, chipped. Rare.

Property of a London gentleman; acquired from his father's collection formed in the late 1980s-early 1990s; accompanied by an academic report by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato, and by a metallurgic analytical report, written by Metallurgist Dr. Brian Gilmour of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, report number 601/131391.

Two similar round bronze shields datable to the 11th century BC, were part of the famous collection of Axel Guttmann, showing a slightly different decorative pattern; see also Muscarella, W.O., Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1988; Christie's, The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, part 1, London, 2002; Christie's, The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, part 2, London, 2004; Ayazi, S., Disc-Headed Bronze Pins from Luristan: A Symbol of Ancient Iran’s Past, Tübingen, 2008; Moshtagh Khorasani, Manouchehr, 'Bronze and iron weapons from Luristan'. Antiguo Oriente: Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente 7, 2009; Muscarella, W.O., Archaeology, Artifacts and Antiquities of the Ancient Near East, Sites-Cultures and Provenience's, Leiden-Boston, 2013.

This bronze shield finds a good parallel also in a further complete specimen in the collection of Axel Guttmann (Christie's, 2002, cat.17, p.23). The diameter of the shield is similar to three bronze shields found in Hasanlu (Muscarella, 2013, p.275), although of later date and different decorative patterns, like flat central umbos (shield's bosses) rosettes decorated (Muscarella, 1988, p. 75). These kind of shields, of small dimensions, were used by infantry or horse-archers of Luristan and neighbouring cultures (Elamites, Zagros Tribesmen, like Hurrians, Lullubians, Kutians, and Kassites), as well as from Urartu, West-Iranian and Northern Caucasian civilizations around the Caspian Sea. The manufacturing of these objects took place in the period between 2500 BC and 650 BC.

The shield is well preserved, in its complex, apart from the damage on one of the edges. Although such weapons are generally classified as 'parade' weaponry such a concept was absolutely extraneous to the Ancient World. The rich and noble aristocrats of the Luristan, Elamites, Hurrians, Lullubians, Kutians, and Kassites, went to battle splendidly equipped and used magnificent bronze armours. The art of Luristan can be described as the art of nomadic herdsmen and horsemen with an emphasis on the crafting of small, easily portable objects, among these a great number of bronze weapons. The techniques used for making bronze weapons in Luristan included: casting with open moulds, casting with close moulds, and casting with lost wax process. For metal sheets used for quiver plaques and bronze protective belts or shields, they used the hammering technique (Čakoškāri, s. Ayazi, 2008, p.15).

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Lot No. 0455

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 27th May 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 28th May 2019 (Day 1)
10am : Lots 1 - 660

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

10am GMT Start (Lunch 1.30 - 2pm)
Wednesday 29th May 2019 (Day 2)
Lots 700 - 1400
Thursday 30th May 2019 (Day 3)
Lots 1401 - 2112
Friday 31st May 2019 (Day 4)
Lots 2113 - 2817
Saturday 1st June 2019 (Day 5)
Lots 2818 - 3306
Coins: 3401 - 3579
Sunday 2nd June 2019 (Day 6)
Coins, Notes & Medals
Lots 3600 - 4387

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