Circa 2500-1500 BC
Description: An exquisite Mesopotamian (Western Asiatic) bronze axe head with flaring crescent form blade. It features a rounded shaft hole angled inward toward the blade. A ribbed knob at the base and at the top of the shaft; the upper knob decorated with an incised zigzag pattern which continues vertically along the blade where it meets the shaft. Lovely rich smooth reddish-brown patina.
Length: 3.75 in. (9.52 cm)
Condition: Intact as shown with rich lustrous patina with light verd de gris on either side near the edge of the blade. Rarely found in such fine condition.
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of the Harvard Byzantine scholar Carroll Wales, assembled in the the 1950s-1980s.
Reference: There is a near identical example in the New York Metropolitan Museum, published at #509 in Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Oscar White Muscarella.
Compare: For a variant on the type, see #151, Copper Alloy axe from the Treasures of the Royal Tombs of Ur, edited by Richard Zettler and Lee Horne, University of Pennsylvania. Also see #517, in Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Oscan Muscarella, who notes that the published example is securely dated having come from a second millennium context in Iraq and is also the type found on the famous Ur-Nammu stele in Philadelphia (late third-early second millennium BC).
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