A cast bronze axe head decorated with the body of an ibex. The axe head is curved, widening at the blade, its borders formed of raised rims with incised motifs designed to make them look like the animal's massive curved horns. The socket is the body, and the four spikes projecting from the butt suggest the legs of the animal. The head rises from the top of the blade just beyond the socket. The head is handsome and detailed with large eyes and ears, an open mouth, and a goatee. This blade was made not to be functional, but instead as a sign of status - perhaps only to be placed in the grave.
An exact parallel is unknown, but for other decorated axe heads see for example Seipel, p. 108-109, nos. 29 (axe head decorated with the figure of a man carrying a fish), 30 (axe head decorated with the figure of an archer), 31 (axe head decorated with a bird, a man and a lion); Moorey, p. 41-43, nos. 7 (axe head decorated with an arrow and a lion's head), 8 (axe head decorated with a lion and a goat); Mahboubian, p. 175, no. 187 (axe head decorated with a lion's head); p. 179, no. 196 (axe head decorated as the head of a serpent).
Houshang Mahboubian, The Art of Ancient Iran: Copper and Bronze (London, Philip Wilson Publishers, 1997), p. 175, no. 187;
P.R.S. Moorey, Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Adam Collection (London, Faber & Faber, 1974), p. 41-43, figs. 6-8;
Wilfried Seipel (ed.), 7000 Ans d'Art Perse. Chefs-d'Oeuvres du Musee National de Teheran (Milano, Skira - Wien, Kunsthistorisches Museum, 2000), p. 108-108, nos. 29-31.
Near Eastern, Luristan, early first millennium B.C.
Height 15.1 cm.
Private East Coast, USA collection, acquired prior to 1980; thereafter with Erdal Dere, Fortuna Fine Arts, New York; thereafter with Artemis Gallery, Colorado.