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Lot 52c, Auction 8/3/2017: Superb Luristan Bronze Ring w/ Lion Terminals

$560.25
Ancient Near East, Luristan, ca. 1200 to 800 BCE. A heavy, large, lost wax cast bronze ring with terminals shaped like two lion heads that at one time met at the nose. The lion heads have huge manes, snarling faces, and wide eyes. The rest of the ring is a heavy, smooth, curved cylinder. If this was a bracelet, it was for a huge wrist! It may have been an armlet, or, a more likely use would be as a ring for attaching items, perhaps one that hung from a saddle. In this culture, a relatively wealthy class of nomadic horse lords and ladies commissioned bronze items from artisans in urban centers. Many of these exquisitely made items ultimately came to grace the graves of elite warriors. Size: 4.6" W x 0.45" H (11.7 cm x 1.1 cm)

The lion seems to have been a symbol of nobility or royalty, combining a fierce demeanor with a hunting prowess that was highly valued in this culture. This type of motif is present in many pieces of bronze from Luristan and elsewhere in the Near East and western Central Asia, but the individual details of the lion's faces are almost always different - suggesting that many different workshops were creating pieces with this iconography.

Condition: Smooth, mottled light and dark green patina overall. Terminal heads don't meet up perfectly because one side has been slightly bent out of shape.

Provenance: private New Jersey USA collection, acquired over twenty years ago

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