Elamite Bronze Sword

SKU AR.007
Status

SOLD

Circa

900 BC to 700 BC

Dimensions

22.75″ (57.8cm) high

Medium

Bronze

Origin

Central Asia

Gallery Location

UK


 

Elam was an ancient kingdom of Asia, situated north of the Persian Gulf and east of the Tigris River, and corresponding approximately to the present-day province of Khuzistan in Iran. The capital of Elam and its most fabled city was Sûsa, today the city of Shûsh. This powerful empire has been overshadowed in history by the rival kingdoms of Babylon and Assyria. However, their extraordinary metalwork survives to this day, a testament to the expertise of their craftsman.

The present sword is a marvelous product of a culture adept in bronze working, created during the time of the early European Iron Age. The cross guard and tang of the sword are cast as one piece with the blade. The hilt would have been wrapped with leather to provide a comfortable grip for the user, and the end of the tang, protruding beyond the grip of the hilt, would have been topped with a pommel, perhaps of wood or a precious metal, and set in place with a cross pin. The sword would have been cast in a rough mold and then the edges would have been forged, giving them a sharpened edge and simultaneously hardening the surfaces.

Such an item would have been the prized possession of a wealthy warrior or even a chieftain, and the cost to fashion it would preclude ownership by the average inhabitant. Surely such a lavish, luxurious item was reserved strictly for the possession of the ruling elite and their immediate family. While the kings of Elam once ruled over a vast empire, no doubt amassing countless priceless treasures, today their memory is preserved through the remnants of their wealth. This sword is not just a gorgeous work of art, but also the only lasting tribute to a vanished empire.

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