Luristan, western Iran
Bronze; H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
Gift of Laura White and Fred Randolph, 1996 (1996.82.1)
In the early first millennium B.C., inhabitants of the mountainous region of western Iran known today as Luristan manufactured an astonishing variety of bronze objects, including weapons, standards, jewelry, horse ornaments, and vessels, most of which have been recovered from cemeteries. The nature of the society, economy, and language that produced these bronzes is not known with certainty but they may have been predominantly nomadic.
This standard top would have been joined to a pole or other support. It is not certain how such a standard would have been used, but it may be significant that the very few examples of this type excavated have been found only in graves. The object depicts a scene of long-standing significance in ancient Near Eastern art, that of the "master of animals." The man holds in each hand the throat of a demonic creature, while human and bird heads appear below.