Luristan Bronzes

Luristan Bronzes
Luristan Bronzes

In the area that currently occupies the center and west of Iran, one of the most important cultures for the history of mankind developed, this area known as Luristán collected important advances for man such as the appearance of writing or the development of the first cities, for example Elam or Summer. However, we must point out that the area of ​​Luristán did not comprise a single people but rather a group of tribes, some of them Kurdish and the vast majority of them nomads who occupied this territory. The lack of documentation in this regard makes it difficult to establish reliable data about these towns or the works of art that arose there, however, broadly speaking, we can point out that the Luristán bronzes date from the beginning of the Iron Age, specifically from between the years 1000 and 650 BC

When we talk about the Luristán Bronzes we refer to a set of pieces so varied that they range from jewelry (rings, pendants, bracelets…) to weapons, as well as horse trappings or even small glasses and vessels. In general, most of the bronzes had a utilitarian purpose and not only decorative, in part this characteristic can be related to the fact that many of the tribes of Luristán were nomads since this condition forced to have a limited number of objects and that these be as light as possible.

Bronzes became popular inEurope and America throughout the decade of the twenties, however, most of the pieces were excavated by local treasure hunters and later sold on the black market, which makes experts suppose that there are actually a good number of pieces that despite being cataloged as Luristán bronzes are mere forgeries. In reality, scientific excavations did not take place until the late 1930s.


A large part of the bronzes found to date have been associated with funerary burials which tells us about the belief of these peoples in the afterlife but it is also remarkable that all the pieces present a wide decoration for which they have become an invaluable source to know the iconography and mythological beliefs of the inhabitants of this area.

Among the representations with human forms we find both male figures (a kind of hero who defeats the beasts) and female ones, with the representation of a creator deity. Zoomorphic iconography almost always refers to wild animals, felines and birds of prey but also animals with antlers that represent a form of power.

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