The Luristan Empire: Beauty of Bronze

Luristan bronze comes from the province of Lorestan, a region of modern day western Iran. In the ancient world it was settled by a number of peoples, such as the Medes, the Kassites, and eventually the Persians. In 2017, archaeological evidence for Achaemenid contact with the area came to light for the first time.

Defining a culture

These objects and artworks are typically dated to about 1000 – 650 BC. Many small bronze objects have been found in the area – these items range from ornaments, to weapons, and even vessels. Luristan bronze goods have been found primarily in a funerary context. They are almost entirely unique to the region, and no evidence of objects like these have been sourced anywhere else in Iran or the Middle East, but interestingly, two pieces that are almost universally believed to be Luristan have been found on the Greek islands of Samos and Crete.

Evaluating the evidence

Archaeologists have found enough bronze in the region to suggest it wasn’t a particularly expensive material, and that these objects would have belonged to people with a variety of economic backgrounds. We have in our collection some bronze weaponry from the region. These objects are a testament to the sheer amount of fighting that went on in the ancient world, as is also reflected by the number of times rule over Lorestan changed hands. Some pieces are more decorative and artistic, though they are usually still quite functional in their purpose.  There is also evidence to suggest that Luristan bronze was used for purely decorative purposes as well, though this seems to be rather more rare.

Luristan bronze spouted strainer vessel
Rare large Luristan iron-age bronze horse bell
Luristan iron age bronze arrowhead
Luristan large bronze bracelet with beasts

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By Francesca,

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