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Home > Auctions > 7th September 2021 > Urartu Silver Belt Plaque with Marching Lions

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LOT 0377

GBP (£) 12,000 - 17,000
EUR (€) 14,100 - 19,980
USD ($) 16,720 - 23,690

Opening Bid
£9,180 (EUR 10,789; USD 12,793) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Urartu Silver Belt Plaque with Marching Lions

8th-7th century BC

A broad hammered silver cuirass-belt plaque, decorated in chased low relief, the plaque divided in four horizontal registers separated by a double line, each register with a stamped figure of a marching lion with erect head and flowing mane; domed bosses to the edges and front edge with a ring; mounted on a custom-made stand. 840 grams total, 24.3cm including stand (9 1/2"). Fine condition.

Property of a London gentleman; before that in the private collection of a Kensington collector; previously in the collection of Mrs Petra Schamelman, Breitenbach, Germany; acquired from the collection of Fernand Adda, formed in the 1920s; accompanied by an archaeological expertise by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato and a positive metal test from an Oxford specialist; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10770-178143.

See Born, H., Seidl, U., Schutzwaffen aus Assyrien und Urartu, Sammlung Axel Guttmann IV, Mainz, 1995; Gorelik, M.V., Warriors of Eurasia, Stockport, 1995; Gorelik, M., Weapons of Ancient East, IV millennium BC-IV century BC, Saint Petersburg (2003) in Russian; Çavuşoğlu, R., 'A unique Urartian belt in the Van Museum' in Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan, Band 37, Berlin, 2005, pp.365-370.

A similar plaque in bronze, but decorated with a lion preceded by winged creatures, is visible in the Reza Hasan Museum of Istanbul. In the same museum, an armoured neck collar shows the same style of lions of our plaque, and a shield embossed with identical lions from Armenia has been published by Gorelik (2003,, where it is also possible to see the reconstruction of the fastening system of such belts (2003, pl.LIX no.1). The great dimensions of these belts allow to consider them as a real body protection of the noble Urartian warriors, in combination with the shields and helmets. The Urartian army consisted of infantry, outstanding cavalry and powerful war chariot units. The Urartian soldiers depicted on the Urartian belts always wear conical helmets, and the crew of the war chariots is usually formed by two warriors, the archer in lamellar armour, and the driver (Çavuşoğlu, 2005, fig.2). In combat, Urartian soldier wore an armour made either of tied bronze plaques or of iron scales sewn onto a soft base, broad chased belts, tall bronze or iron helmets, breastplates or pectorals. The offensive weapons were arrows, maces, bronze battle-axes, stone and clay balls for slings.