Ancient Near East, ca. 2nd millennium BCE. A stunning ceremonial axe made from copper and cast in separate pieces via the lost wax (cire perdue) method. The axe blade is of a crescent form with curved termini and a tubular hafting sleeve projecting opposite the sharpened edge. Atop the hafting tube stands a stocky bull effigy with nubbin-form legs, a sinuous tail, a thick neck, and a conical head from which projects a grand pair of pointed horns. A long, slightly-curved cylindrical rod is secured within the upper tube, with a flat terminal on the longest end, and a flaring finial; this rod was perhaps meant as a tang to be wrapped with ivory or leather wraps. High-quality ceremonial weapons like this example were not typically used on the field of battle or for sacrificial purposes but were votives to be deposited in burials along with other valuable offerings. An exquisite example covered in layers of lustrous green and brown patina. Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 21.5" L x 6.625" H (54.6 cm x 16.8 cm); 8.125" H (20.6 cm) on included custom stand.
Cf. an Amlash axe and rod in an Iranian collection, published in "7000 Years of Iranian Art" (Washington DC, 1964), cat. No. 125, pp. 64 & 132
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-private Texas, USA collection; ex-private Rosen Family collection, acquired in the 1980s
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Rod is ancient but may not be original to the axe head. Slight bending to overall form of blade, pole, and bull horns, light encrustations, and small nicks to rod ends and blade edge, otherwise intact and excellent. Light earthen deposits as well as fabulous green and brown patina throughout.