Sadigh Gallery

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Canopic Jars and the Four Sons of Horus

Canopic jars were stone and ceramic vessels used for the burial of the viscera removed during mummification.  The term, canopic, derives from the misconception that they were connected with the human-headed jars that were worshipped as personifications of the God Osiris by the inhabitants of the ancient Egyptian port of Canopus, named after the Homeric character who was Menelaus’ pilot.  The "Canopus of Osiris" image appeared on some Roman coins from the Alexandrian mint and the name was therefore chosen by early Egyptologists to refer to any jar with a stopper in the form of a human head.  The practice of preserving eviscerated organs.

During mummification, it is first attested in the burial of Hetepheres, mother of the 4th dynasty ruler, Khufu (2589-2566 BC), at Giza.  Her viscera were stored in a travertine (Egyptian alabaster) chest divided into four compartments, three of which contained the remains of her organs in natron while the fourth held a dry organic material.  In later burials, specific elements of the viscera were placed under the protection of four anthropomorphic genii known as the sons of Horus who were themselves protected by tutelary deities guarding the four cardinal points.  The human-headed Imsety, linked with Isis and the south, protected the liver; the ape-headed Hapy, linked with Nephthys and the North, cared for the lungs; the jackal-headed Duamutef, linked with Neith and the east, guarded the stomach; and the falcon-headed Qebehsenuef, linked with Serket and the west, looked after the intestines. 

During the first intermediate period (2181-2055 BC), the jars began to be provided with stoppers in the form of human heads and, at this time, the canopic bundles were sometimes decorated with human-faced masks.  By the late Middle Kingdom, a set of canopic equipment could be comprised of two chests, a stone-carved outer container and a wooden inner one holding four jars furnished with stoppers in the form of human heads.  In the early 18th Dynasty, the stoppers were still human-headed, as in the case of the canopic equipment of Tutankhamen, but from the later 18th Dynasty onwards, it became more common for the stoppers to take the form of the characteristic heads of each of the four genii and, by the 19th Dynasty, these had completely replaced the human-headed type.  In the third intermediate period (1069-747 BC), mummified viscera were usually returned to the body, sometimes accompanied by models of the relevant genii, but empty or dummy canopic jars were occasionally still included in rich burials.  Canopic equipment is found in Ptolemaic tombs but had ceased to be used by the Roman period.  The last known royal canopic jars belonged to apr├Ęs (589-570 BC) and one of these survived through its reuse as a vessel containing the body of a mummified hawk at Saqqara.

Find authentic ancient Egyptian carnopic jars at Sadigh Gallery website!

http://www.sadighgallery.com/search.asp?keyword=canopic jar&sortby=0&catid=17

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sadigh Gallery Ancient Egyptian Scarabs


 Common type of amulet, seal or ring bezel found in Egypt. Inscribed Scarabs were issued to commemorate important events or buried with mummies.  The Scarab is so called because it was made in the shape of the sacred Scarab beetle (Scarabaeus sacer), which was personified by KHEPRI, a sun God associated with resurrection.  The flat underside of the scarab, carved in stone or molded in faience or glass, was usually decorated with designs or inscriptions, sometimes incorporating a royal name.  

The earliest were purely amuletic and uninscribed; it was only during the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC) that they were used as seals.  The term scaraboid is used to describe a seal or amulet, which has the same ovoid shape as a scarab, but may have its back carved in the form of some creature other than the scarab beetle.  This appears to have developed out of the practice of carving two-dimensional animal forms on the flat underside of the scarab, which is known as early as the First Intermediate Period (2181-2055 BC).
During the reign of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC), a series of unusually large scarabs were produced to celebrate certain events or aspects of Amenhotep’s reign, from the hunting of bulls and lions to the listing of the titles of Queen Tiy.  There were also a number of funerary types of scarabs such as the large “winged scarab”, virtually always made of blue faience and incorporated into the bead nets covering mummies, and the “heart Scarab", usually inscribed with Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead which was included in burials from at least the 13th Dynasty (1795-1650 BC) onward.

An extensive collection of scarabs, ranging from tiny (½"-¾") faience scarabs to heart scarabs made of limestone, are available at Sadigh Gallery. While heart scarabs show beautiful inscriptions and symbols, simpler amulet scarabs are available at more affordable prices and are able to be redesigned on modern jewelry settings.  In fact, we have lapis lazuli, carnelian, and turquoise scarab amulets set on modern earrings, rings, or necklace settings, which are popular among Sadigh Gallery customers as gifts. 

Lapis lazuli scarabs pictured here are especially popular with our customers and are  available in quantity. Lapis is metamorphosed form of limestone, rich in the blue mineral lazulite, a complex feldspathoid that is dark blue in color and often flecked with impurities of calcite, iron pyrites or gold.  The Egyptians considered that ‘its appearance imitated that of the heavens’ and considered it to be superior to all materials other than gold and silver.  They used it extensively in jewelry until the Late Period (747-332 BC) when it was particularly popular for amulets. 

Visit http://www.sadighgallery.com to see variety of scarabs available at our gallery!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sadigh Gallery: Ancient Egyptian Animal Mummification


The Ancient Egyptians kept many animals as household pets, including various birds, cats, dogs, monkeys, baboons, and even mongooses.  Some animals, like monkeys, were kept for entertainment, while the others (such as dogs, and raptors like hawks and falcons) to help people hunt for food.  It appears that ancient Egyptians greatly treasured these pet animals, as in the tomb paintings the animals and owners are often depicted together.  Even the pets were mummified along with their owners and placed in the same tomb, so they could join their masters afterlife.

Ancient Egyptians also believed that animals were sacred and they were embodiment of their gods. Often times, when animals died, their bodies were mummified in the similar ways as human mummification procedure and were buried in the temples to honor their gods.  Sometimes an animal was even killed for the sole purpose of presenting it to the gods, for the act of offering its body to the honored gods was considered sacred by ancient Egyptians.

It is no miracle that the mummified animals are still remaining to this day: the embalmment techniques used on the animal mummification by ancient Egyptian are believed to be about as sophisticated as procedures performed on regular human mummification. The chemical analysis by the experts show that in order to prevent decays in hot climate, they first drained out water by separating the organs and treating the body with sea salt.  Then, they applied natural products such as animal fats, beeswax, sugar gum, bitumen, and tree resins, before wrapping it with linen bandages. 

Various sorts of mummified animals have been discovered up to this date, including aforementioned pet animals such cats, monkeys, dogs, and birds. Even mummified alligators, lizards, fish, and beetles have been found. 

Mummified vulture, pictured here, is currently being showcased at Sadigh Gallery as one of our featured collections.  It is an extremely rare piece, with its wings outstretched and covered with linen. Sadigh Gallery acquired this valuable piece from a private collection.  It comes mounted in a wooden box frame with a removable acrylic cover.

The vulture was typically associated with the goddess Nekhebet who was the patroness of the city of El-Kab in Upper Egypt. The vulture was also an important symbol of the goddess Mut.  The bird was often believed to be feminine symbol, as people observed its maternal characteristics in protecting its young and its close bonding with its mate.  Pairing, bonding, protecting, loving are essential attributes associated with a vulture.

Some other animal mummies that are present at Sadigh Gallery Ancient Art include falcons and cats.  For any details on these animals, please contact the gallery or refer to our website www.sadighgallery.com.









Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sadigh Gallery: Stamp and Cylinder Seals of Ancient Near East

In the ancient Near Eastern world, people created seals to indicate one’s ownership over their properties, much similar to personalized stamps or signatures we use today. There were largely two types of stamps: Stamp seal and Cylinder seal.
Stamp seals are in the shape of hemispheres, domes, pyramids or simply had one or more flat sides depicting a design.   The early stamp seals were relatively simple with few designs.  After around 5000 BC, figurative designs started to appear on the seals, most of which consisted of animals and hunting scenes.
 By 3200 BC, seals were made in cylinder form that permitted the seal to be rolled over wet clay to produce a continuous image or frieze.
The primary use of seals was to designate ownership. They were impressed on the clay that sealed storage jars and on lumps of clay wrapped around ropes securing bales of goods.  When the clay hardened, the impression became a permanent record, a sign of ownership.  The shape and size of cylinder seals, the type of material used, and the designs carved into the surface varied according to period and area.  As of this date, cylinders seals made from hard stones ( often black or dark green) have been found, but also of lapis lazuli, chalcedony, agate, jasper, marble, carnelian and crystal.
Cylinder seals are the only object from the ancient Near East surviving in quantity over the entire period.  Therefore, for the history of art, they are unique.  In addition, some carry inscriptions naming the ancient owners, or giving other valuable information, which is also unique since captions on objects are extremely rare in this area and period. Since cylinder seals are small and mostly made of stone, many have survived intact, while other objects such as large sculpture in the round and large stone reliefs have rarely survived intact, if at all.  Victorious armies often destroyed them of set plan, or plunderers and vandals as well as the elements took a toll of them over the centuries.  Thus, a major collection of cylinder seals has an importance well beyond the size and bulk of the objects.
Cylinder seals are somewhat a kin to Chinese scrolls in that they need to be “unraveled”, or “rolled out”.  Because they cannot be seen completely without turning them, they are sort of early animations. Some have one continuous scene, others are “compartmentalized”, and some have inscriptions.  Many of the earliest ones have simple geometric patterns, and there are many traditional scenes involving nobility, Gods, hunters, and beasts.  Most are meant to be scrolled horizontally.
There are small seals and large seals, some lean and some fat.  In many instances, the incised images are very hard to discern directly from the seal, often because of the stone’s particular coloration, and most seals that are auctioned nowadays come with a gray clay tablet on which the seal’s impression has been made, which makes it easier to visualize.  Remarkably, the three-dimensionality of the carving is usually quite pronounced and the collectors prize the quality of the images.
At Sadigh Gallery, we have a collection of ancient stamp and cylinder seals from ancient Syria, Assyria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Persia,  and Sumer.   The prices range according to the quality of the images as well as the materials used.  We have variety of seals that are made with steatite (more common), and some of the more variable ones made with semi-precious stones such as agate.   If you are looking for specific types of seals, please consult Sadigh Gallery Ancient Art, Inc. and we will be happy to assist you!

You can also visit our website www.sadighgallery.com


Sadigh Gallery’s Sumerian Seal Collection:


Sadigh Gallery’s  Mesopotamian Seal Collection:


Sadigh Gallery’s Babylonian Seal Collection:


Sadigh Gallery’s  Assyrian Seal Collection:


Sadigh Gallery’s Syrian Seal Collection:


Sadigh Gallery’s Persian Seal Collection:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sadigh Gallery: Ancient Egyptian Coffin/Sarcophagus


The term “Coffin” is usually applied to the rectangular or anthropoid container in which the Egyptians placed the mummified body, whereas the word “Sarcophagus” (Greek: “Flesh-Eating”) is used to refer only to the stone outer container, invariably encasing one or more coffins.  The distinction made between these two items of Egyptian funerary equipment is therefore essentially an artificial one, since both shared the same role of protecting the body of the deceased.  In terms of decoration and shape, coffins and sarcophagi drew on roughly the same iconographic stylistic repertoire.

The earliest burials in Egypt contain no coffins and were naturally desiccated by the hot sand.  The separation of the body of deceased from the surrounding sand by the use of a coffin or sarcophagus ironically led to the deterioration of the body, perhaps stimulating developments in mummification.  The religious purpose of the coffin was to ensure the well-being of the deceased in the afterlife, literally providing a “house” for the “Ka”.

The earliest coffins were baskets or simple plank constructions in which the body was placed in a flexed position.  From these developed and valuated house-shaped coffins that remained in use into the fourth Dynasty (2613 – 2494 BC).  At around this time, the Egyptians began to bury the deceased body in an extended position, perhaps because the increasingly common practice of evisceration made such an arrangement more suitable.  By the end of the Old Kingdom (2181 BC), food offerings were being painted on the inside of coffins as an extra means of providing sustenance for the deceased in the event of the tomb chapel being destroyed or neglected.  In the Old & Middle Kingdom, a pair of eyes was often painted on the side of the coffin that faced east when it was placed in the tomb.  It was evidently believed that the deceased could therefore look out of the coffin to see his or her offerings and the world from which he or she had passed, as well as to view the rising Sun. 

Decorated coffins became still more important in the First Intermediate Period (2181 – 2055 BC), when many tombs contained little mural decoration.  It was thus essential that coffins themselves should incorporate the basic elements of the tomb and by the Middle Kingdom (2055 – 1650 BC), they often incorporated revised extracts of the Pyramid Texts, known as the coffin texts.  This change reflects the increased identification of the afterlife with Osiris, rather than the Sun-God “Ra”.

Anthropoid coffins first appeared in the 12th Dynasty (1985 – 1795 BC), apparently serving as substitute bodies lest the original be destroyed.  With the New Kingdom (1550 – 1069 BC), this form of coffins became more popular and the shape became identified with Osiris himself; his beard and crossed arms sometimes being added.  The feathered, rishi coffins of the 17th and early 18th Dynasty were once thought to depict the wings of the goddess Isis, embracing her husband Osiris, but are now considered by some scholars to refer to the BA bird.  Rectangular coffins were effectively replaced by anthropoid types in the 18th Dynasty; but some of their decorative elements were retained.

In the Third Intermediate Period (1069 – 747 BC), coffins, papyri and stelae became the main vehicles for funerary scenes that had previously been carved and painted on the walls of tomb chapels.  The principal feature of most of the new scenes depicted on coffins was the Osirian and solar mythology surrounding the concept of rebirth, including the judgment of the deceased before Osiris and the journey into the underworld, the voyage of the Solar Bark and parts of the Litany of Ra.  Among the new scenes introduced in the decoration of coffins and on funerary papyri was the depiction of the separation of the earth-god Geb from the sky-goddess Nut.

The excavation of the 21st & 22nd Dynasty royal tombs at Tanis has provided a number of examples of the royal coffins of the period (although the sarcophagi were sometimes reused from the New Kingdom).  The cache of mummies of high priests of Amun at Deir el-Bahri has also yielded a large number of private coffins of the 21st Dynasty (1069 – 945 BC).  It was also from the end of the New Kingdom onwards that the interiors of the coffins began to be decorated again; beneath the lid-especially in the 22nd Dynasty (945 – 715 BC), there was often a representation of Nut, while the “goddess of the West”, Hathor, or the Djed Pillar began to be portrayed on the coffin floor.  During the Late Period, extracts from the Book of the Dead were sometimes also inscribed inside the coffin. 

In the 25th Dynasty a new repertoire of coffin types, usually consisting of sets of two or three (including an inner case with pedestal, an intermediate anthropoid outer coffin), was introduced, becoming established practice by the 26th Dynasty.  Late Period coffins were characterized by archaism, involving the reintroduction of the earlier styles of coffin decoration, such as the provision of the eye panel. 

There are comparatively few excavated burials dating from c.525 to 350 BC, but more coffins have survived from the succeeding phase (30th Dynasty and early Ptolemaic Period), when they typically have disproportionately large heads and wigs.  During the early Ptolemaic Period, many mummies were provided with cartonnage masks and plaques, fixed on to the body by strips of line.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sadigh Gallery: Ancient Egyptian Palette

(Available at Sadigh Gallery: Cosmetic palette made from black basalt with a symbol to one side. Egyptians used intricately carved palettes to grind the pigments for eye makeup. The history of cosmetics goes back thousands of years. The bible, for example, describes the practice of anointing the head and body with oil. The most famous figure associated with cosmetics was Cleopatra VII, the last Queen of Egypt, who was noted for her skill in making and using cosmetics. Middle Kingdom. 2040-1786 BC. 8" x 4")

The Palette term used to refer to two distinct artifacts: cosmetic and scribal pallets.

Cosmetic/ceremonial palettes, usually of siltstone (greywacke), have been found in the form of grave goods in cemeteries as early as the Baldarian period (c. 5500 – 4000 BC).  They were used to grind pigments such as malachite or galena, from which eye-paint was made.  The early examples were simply rectangular in shape, but by the Naqada I period (c. 4000 – 3500 BC), they were generally carved into more elaborate geometric forms including a rhomboid which resembles the symbol of the later fertility god Minor, the schematic silhouettes or animals such as hippopotami and turtles (sometimes with inlaid eyes).

By this time, cosmetic palettes had almost certainly acquired ritualistic or magical connotations.  In the Naqada II period (c. 3500 – 3100 BC) the preferred shape tended to be the forms of fish or birds, rather than animals, and many were shield-shaped, with two birds’ heads at the top. 

By the terminal Predynastic period, the range of shapes of the smaller cosmetic palettes had become considerably reduced, but simultaneously a new and more elaborate ceremonial form began to be produced.  These palettes (usual oval or shield-shaped) were employed as votive items in temples rather than as grave goods, and a large number were found in the form of a cache in the Early Dynastic temple at Hierakonpolis.  They were carved with reliefs depicting the ideology and rituals of the emerging elite, and the quintessential surviving example is the “Narmer Palette”. 

The “Narmer Palette” was found in the so-called “main deposit” at Kom el-Ahmar, i.e. Hierakonpolis.  This is perhaps the most intensely studied of all Egyptian artifacts and the most well known.  This triangular piece of black basalt depicts a king whose name is given as Nar-Mer in the hieroglyphs. On the obverse he is shown wearing the white crown of the south and holding a mace about to crush the head of a northern foe, and on the reverse, the same figure is shown wearing the red crown of the north while a bull (a symbol of the pharaoh's power) rages below him, smashing the walls of a city and trampling yet another foe.  At first, it was taken for a plate commemorating a specific historical event, such as the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, or a military victory over some foreign people.  However,  later  research drift towards it being either a wholly symbolic event aimed at manifesting the King's power, or summarize the year in which it was made and presented to the temple.

Scribal palettes generally consisted of long rectangular pieces of wood or stone (averaging 30 cm long and 60 cm wide), each with a shallow central groove or slot to hold the reed bushes or pens and one or two circular depressions at one end, to hold cakes of pigment.  The hieroglyph used as the determinative for the words “scribe” and “writing” consisted of a set of scribes’ equipment, including a shorter version of the palette.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sadigh Gallery: Egyptian Pre-Dynastic History and Culture

Beginning just before the Predynastic period, Egyptian culture was already beginning to resemble greatly the Pharaonic ages that would soon come after, and rapidly at that.  In a transition period of a thousand years (about which little is still known), nearly all the archetypal characteristics appeared, and beginning in 5500 BC we find evidence of organized, permanent settlements focused around agriculture. Hunting was no longer a major support for existence now that the Egyptian diet was made up of domesticated cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, as well as cereal grains such as wheat and barley.  Artifacts of stone were supplemented by those of metal, and the crafts of basketry, pottery, weaving, and the tanning of animal hides became part of the daily life. The transition from primitive nomadic tribes to traditional civilization was nearly complete.

The Chalcolithic period, also called the "Primitive" Predynastic, marks the beginning of the true Predynastic cultures both in the north and in the south. The southern cultures, particularly that of the Badarian, were almost completely agrarian (farmers), but their northern counterparts, such as the Faiyum who were oasis dwellers, still relied on hunting and fishing for the majority of their diet. Predictably, the various craftworks developed along further lines at a rapid pace. Stone working, particularly that involved in the making of blades and points reached a level almost that of the Old Kingdom industries that would follow. Furniture too, was a major object of creation; again, many artifacts already resembling what would come. Objects began to be made not only with a function, but also with an aesthetic value. Pottery was painted and decorated, particularly the blacktopped clay pots and vases that this era is noted for; bone and ivory combs, figurines, and tableware, are found in great numbers, as is jewelry of all types and materials.

 It would seem that while the rest of the world at large was still in the darkness of primitivism, the Predynastic Egyptians were already creating a world of beauty.

 Somewhere around 4500 BC is the start of the "Old" Predynastic, also known as the Amratian period, or simply as Naqada I, as most of the sites from this period date to around the same time as the occupation of the Naqada site. The change that is easiest to see in this period is in the pottery. Whereas before ceramics were decorated with simple bands of paint, these have clever geometric designs inspired by the world around the artist, as well as pictures of animals, either painted on or carved into the surface of the vessel.  Shapes too, became more varied, for both practical reasons depending on what the vessel was used for, and aesthetic reasons. Decorative clay objects were also popular, particularly the "dancer" figurines, small painted figures of women with upraised arms. Yet perhaps the most important detail of all about this period is the development of true architecture. Like most of Egyptian culture, we have gleaned much of our knowledge from what the deceased were buried with, and in this case, we have several clay models of houses discovered in the graves that resemble the rectangular clay brick homes of the Old Kingdom. This shows that the idea of individual dwellings, towns, and "urban planning" started around 4500 BC!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sadigh Gallery Policy


While collecting ancient antiquities is often viewed as an expensive hobby, Sadigh Gallery attempts to revolutionize that view by offering artifacts at more affordable prices. Despite the impression that old things are more valuable, we believe that is not necessarily correct. Not all artifacts have the value of gold or diamond. For example, certain antiquities may be discovered among the burial grounds of commoners, or materials are simply not valuable from historical perspective. In such cases, the gallery offers their antiquities for less expensive prices. Some beautiful pieces that you may see behind the glass cases in museums can be purchased at as little price as a teenager’s allowances.
Also, we hold catalog auctions on bi-monthly basis.  Sadigh Gallery’s catalog auction, while there is no physical location for the event, works just like any other that takes place in regular live auction houses—the receivers of the catalog may bid their best price on the item that they wish to purchase and pray that their offer is accepted. If anyone else bids higher price on the same item, the first bidder will lose his chance to buy.  It is a fun and thrilling event as well as a great chance to buy an artifact with very reasonable prices.  The gallery takes bid prices starting from 50% of the listed prices.  This means that if an artifact’s regular price is $1,000, the bidder can place any prices from $500 to full amount.  If there is no higher competitor by the end of the auction closing date, the bidder can purchase his artifact with 50% discount!

Sadigh Gallery firmly believes that not all ancient artifacts should be locked away in museums, but also they should be more available to anyone with interest in ancient cultures and history. The gallery certainly makes it easier for private collectors, both amateurs and professionals, and institutions to enhance their collection by offering with lower prices on most of their artifacts.





Sadigh Gallery Ancient Art


Collecting different forms of ancient art is one of the favorite pastimes in the recent era. Some of them even make themselves successful in their profession through this hobby. For the starting collectors, one thing to consider carefully before starting any collection, is to access the most authentic resource.


Sadigh Gallery Ancient Art is one of the most reliable galleries that deal in ancient artifacts in the United States. Boasting thousands of antiquities, varying from objects as small as ancient beads to larger pieces such Egyptian sarcophagus, Sadigh Gallery has been successfully in business in New York City’s 5th Avenue--the heart of commerce--for more than 30 years. Most of Sadigh Gallery’s collections come from different estates or private collectors, and are offered with life-time guaranteed certificates of authenticity.   The gallery also gladly accepts returns if the artifacts does not match up to a customer’s expectations, and offers full refund.  

Although Sadigh Gallery is mainly a mail-order business—and the very first one in the nation that deals in ancient antiquities—its door is also open to the public. Because of the nature of mail-order business, the gallery has customers in every part of the United States. Some customers even make an arrangement to visit the gallery when they plan their trip to New York City from faraway states or overseas. Visitors can have an access to wide range of antiquities from different cultures, and they are welcome to closely examine before making purchases by lifting and touching the artifacts on display.

In this blog, which a Sadigh Gallery staff will update on daily basis, we will discuss about history of ancient cultures such as Egypt, Greek, Rome, Middle Eastern countries, and many more.  The articles are free to use for educational purposes. 

Sadigh Gallery is located in New York City, New York. For more information about the gallery or its hour of operation, please contact the gallery at toll free number (800)426-2007, or visit the gallery website/ online store www.sadighgallery.com.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Luristan Bronzes


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Luristan bronzes have been prized for their unique designs and fine craftsmanship since antiquity.  Geographically, Luristan is the central province in Iran’s western frontier, the area where production of richly decorated bronzes flourished from about 1200 to 800 B.C. The formidable terrain of the region, sweeping plains, and high valleys intersected by the Zagros Mountains, encouraged the development of small, separated communities in ancient times.  The economy of these communities was dependent upon horse breeding, some agriculture, and control of the north-south trade routes. By about 2500 B.C. these tribes lived in semi-permanent settlements, which became the early bronze working centers.  The Luristan smiths became masters of casting by the ‘cireperdue’ or ‘lost wax’ method.  This technique required the modeling of an object in wax, often over a clay core for stability, and then coating the wax with clay.  The subsequent firing of the piece hardened the clay, and melted the wax which ran out through prepared vents.  The resulting mold was then filled with molten metal and left to cool.  When the mold was broken away, the bronze piece was smoothes and finished as necessary.  The versatility of this method encouraged innovative design, and allowed for the production of a variety of bronze tools, implements, decorations and figures.  The tribes of western Persian were outstanding horsemen and warriors, and decorative horse bits, harness fittings, and rein rings were among their most interesting equipment.
Ingenious zoomorphic shapes appear on much of the Luristan bronze work. Fantastic animals with elongated bodies form handles and spouts of a variety of vessels.  The same animal forms appear as cult symbols on ceremonial pins and finials.  The “Master of Animals” design, often used on pins and finials is one of the most popular but baffling motifs.  A humanoid figure is flanked by a pair of mythical and rearing beasts, which in some instances he appears to be subduing.  The human figure has been equated with Gilgamesh and with the Mesopotamian “heroes”.  The origin of the whole motif is, however, maybe archaic, and evolved from an early stage in the religion.
The primary function of any metal industry in antiquity was the production of weapons and tools.   This, too, was an area in which the Luristan smiths excelled.  Their mastery of weapons included a wide variety of swords, daggers and spear points, as well as arrowheads, mace heads, and ax heads.
Bronze blades were relatively soft and required frequent re-sharpening, thus the whetstone became an important piece of equipment.
The first bronze blades were cast with a short tang, which was riveted to a simple wooden handle.  Very fine dagger blades were occasionally fitted with a separately cast bronze of copper hilt, that was then riveted to the tang.  Some of these blades have been found with cuneiform inscriptions from the Royal Houses of Babylon and Elam.
Even after the blade and hilt were cast as one piece (about 1200 B.C.) this style was copied and the rivets were cast as a design motif.  Eventually, blades were cast with a flanged hilt.  This allowed for a decorative inlay in the handle of bone, ivory or wood.  The Luristan bronze industry died out after 800 B.C. when the tribal aristocracy lost its power to the invading Medes, and the smiths lost their wealthy patrons.
Many fine examples of Luristan bronze work are, however, available to collectors today from miniature ceremonial animals to horse gear and swords and daggers.