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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Finial Support with Four Faces
Work Type
10th-8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Luristan (Iran)
Iron Age
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast, lost-wax process
13.2 x 4.8 cm (5 3/16 x 1 7/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 90.73; Sn, 8.94; Pb, 0.07; Zn, 0.007; Fe, 0.02; Ni, 0.03; Ag, 0.02; Sb, less than 0.05; As, 0.16; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.02; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001

J. Riederer

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, arsenic
K. Eremin, January 2014

Chemical Composition: EMP analysis from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 90.91; Sn, 7.32; Pb, 0.01; Zn, 0.00; Fe, 0.00; Ni, 0.01; Ag, 0.01; Sb, 0.02; As, 0.09

T. Richardson, June 1999

Technical Observations: The patina of both finial supports (1959.27 and 1970.37) is green with spots of red with some blue in the interior. Brown burial accretions are also present. The surface is fairly well preserved, although there are some corrosion blisters and surface losses.

The finial supports are both hollow and were cast using the indirect lost-wax process, where the wax model was cast in a mold. The decorative ribs on the base and neck are precise, and this detail may have been refined on either the wax model or the finished bronze. The narrow neck, which would have held the pin that secured the finial to the support (see 2005.78.A-C), could have made use of a slender cylindrical core to prevent it from filling with wax, or the neck of the wax model may have been drilled out or otherwise cleaned after the wax model was cast. The facial features on 1959.27 are soft in shape and show no clear evidence of cold working.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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This bulbous finial support is decorated with four faces. The faces have two variations, and each face shares elements with the neighboring faces. Each face is composed of two large, circular eyes, a nose, and ears. The ears of one face become the noses of the neighboring faces and vice versa; the neighboring faces share the eyes. Two have broad faces, with molded jawlines and no mouths, short, prominent noses, and large, two-lobed ears. The other two faces are more animal-like, with longer, less prominent noses, small molded mouths connected to raised jowl lines (the jaw-lines of the adjacent faces) and curved, prominent ears (very animal-like) with the interior area indicated. The finial support is widest where the body connects to the cylindrical neck, and it tapers toward the open bottom, which is ringed by three raised bands; the lowest band is the thickest. Where the body joins the neck, there is a molded ring with two raised bands. The neck is uniformly cylindrical, with an opening at the top for the insertion of a pin from a finial. The hole does not completely traverse the body. The top is a flattened, plain circle.
Publication History

Tracy Richardson, "A Technical Study of Luristan Bronzes From Ancient Iran" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, June 1999), Unpublished, pp. 1-15 passim

Exhibition History

The Art of Luristan, Plymouth State College, Plymouth, 10/04/1970 - 10/29/1970; Chapel Arts Center, Manchester, 11/08/1970 - 12/22/1970

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at