1000 BC to 700 BC
12″ (30.5cm) high
Numerous are the pins excavated in the Luristan cultural sphere, the most important site being the Surkh Dum shrine. In its temples pins were deposited in large numbers. They also appear regularly in burial contexts, but occasionally in settlements, suggesting a predominant ceremonial connotation. Yet simple straight garment pins with plan upper shanks were commonly used in the area from the 3rd millennium BC onwards until they were superseded in the 8th century BC, when the fibula, or safety pin, replaced them.
In the late Bronze Age and early Iron age period they became much more ornate and increasingly decorated with animal- or floral- shaped heads. Although some of these pins could be light enough to be worn as dress pins, many are much too large and heavy for a mundane function and possibly had a ritual connotation, such as those found in the already cited Surkh Dum shrine, which were found built into the stone walls and served as religious symbols or icons.
In the case of the pins here illustrated, the shape of the shank terminating with a bulging sphere topped up by a conical finial variously incised with vertical and horizontal lines, is consistent with the production of the early 1st millennium BC in Luristan.
A group of plain pins with spherical finials are illustrated in Houshang Mahboubian, The Art of Ancient Iran, 1998. – (LO.1014)Login to view price