Object: Bronze Pin


C/1998/1/61
Luristan: Bronze Pin
Iran
ca. 1400-700 BC
Middle East
Materials : Bronze

The Luristan bronzes are well known among the artifacts of ancient Persia, in modern day Iran. The earliest bronzes date back to the fourth millennium BCE and extend through the Bronze Age, ending about 650 BCE. Unlike their contemporaries of Mesopotamia, Luristans did not have written records. They did, however, develop techniques for fashioning objects from bronze. It is unclear exactly how bronze production developed in Luristan, but most likely the technique originated in the Mediterranean and expanded to the Middle Eastern region through three phases.

The Lusristan bronzes are usually decorated in distinct styles including animal, human, and anthropomorphic figures. Many objects are fashioned in wax forms and cast in bronze as seen here. The objects range from decorative sacred items to utilitarian items. The object pictured above is a bronze pin. Pins are not particularly uncommon, as many have been found in excavations of Luristan sites. The pins were used for decoration in hair styles and fastening clothes. In addition to using bronze for bowls, drinking vessels, and decorative items, the Luristans also used it for weaponry. The British Museum has a great example of a bronze ax head that was found in a grave and mostly likely used as an offering because it is too curved for practical use. Bronze is found even in the poorest of Luristan graves, which has led to looting over time. In the early 20th century, many tombs and archaeological sites were looted and bronze objects appeared in European and Middle Eastern markets.

[Eileen Schaumleffle]

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