This is a fascinating elliptical flanged bronze mace head from the Ancient Near East and of the Iranian Luristan Bronze Age culture. Many ancient Bronze Age weapons were never intended for actual use but of the ones that were, seeing evidence of actual combat damage makes a specimen especially intriguing as this one is! You can see a severe striking blow pushed the central shaft so hard it deformed in the inner hole of the mace head, likely hitting the heavy armor of a foe, most likely a helmet or shield strike, to cause such damage. A mace like this was an effective striking weapon with the flanges able to penetrate light armor to inflict damage. In battle, maces were often used by commanders to display rank when giving orders in battle and leading soldiers, inspiring leadership and power. Former collection label still intact on bottom shaft flange.
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.
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.
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.