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LOT 0454

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,540 - 6,810
USD ($) 5,070 - 7,600

Opening Bid
£1,800 (EUR 2,042; USD 2,281) (+bp*) Add to Watch list

Western Asiatic Amlash Shield with Dancing Warriors

Early 1st millennium BC

A rare hammered bronze shield, slightly convex and still showing good detail; the surface shows a decoration in repoussé, with, beginning from the centre, concentric images of triangles, dotted outlines and dancing warriors or hunters disposed in a circle; after a further line of other dots and triangles the circular surface is interrupted by the four surviving protruding corners (originally eight), each of them decorated with vertically oriented geometrical patterns of dots, triangles and herringbone motifs; the disposition of the protruding parts represent the solar disc; the symbolism of the shield represents and is especially and first of all connected with the rays of the sun and the heavens; like shields found in Luristan, this one presents an openwork border, and originally having a smaller umbo (boss) at the centre; according to V. I. Abaev, the Ossetic wart, or according to G. Bailey, ūart, belong to a large group of words deriving from the ancient Indo-Iranian word var (or war) which means ‘cover’ or ‘protection’; from it also derive the Avestan terms for the designation of the shield vərəδraδra, the Ancient-Iranian *vrədra; in ancient Iran in fact one of the most ancient designation of the shield is vərəδδra (Encyclopaedia Iranica under voice Shield); mounted on a custom-made display frame. 6.6 kg, 97cm including frame; shield: 84cm (38"; shield: 33"). Fair condition, several repairs and museum restorations. Excessively rare, the only known example with a procession of warriors.

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 602/131393.

This shield finds a good parallel in a similar but complete specimen preserved at University of Missouri Museum of Art & Archaeology, and with a specimen of the ex-collection Axel Guttmann (Christie's,2004, cat.41, pp.36-37); a similar round bronze shield, date-able to the 10th century BC, one of the most ancient of the Iranian metal shields, was found in Luristan, this shield, (Melikian-Chirvani, pp. 6-8, fig.2) has like our specimen a skirting along the edge (openwork border), an umbo in the centre, and relief depictions of fantastic creatures; also see H. W. Bailey, 'Āriana. Dress and Equipment,' in Orientalia Suecana 4, 1955; and V. I; Abaev, Istoriko-ètimologicheskiǐ slovar’ osetinskogo yazyka (Historical-etymological dictionary of the Ossetic language), vol. III, Moscow, 1989; and A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, Iranian Sun Shield, in Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N. S., 6, 1992, 1993; and Christie's, The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, part 2, London, 2004; and Moshtagh Khorasani, Manouchehr, Bronze and iron weapons from Luristan, Antiguo Oriente: Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente 7, 2009.

The kind of decoration seems to be more ancient than the quoted samples from Missouri University and Guttmann collection. Moreover it is the only known shield showing a procession with human patterns. 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).

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Lot No. 0454

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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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