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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Other Titles
Former Title: Disc Fragment
Ritual Implements
Work Type
9th-8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Luristan (Iran)
Iron Age II-III
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
10 cm (3 15/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: Main
XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron

Corroded area
XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, arsenic

K. Eremin, January 2014

Chemical Composition: SEM-WDS data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 94.7; Sn, 5.0; Pb, nd; Zn, nd; Fe, 0.08; Ni, nd; Ag, nd; Sb, nd; As, 0.17; Co, nd
Comments: Highly corroded; only small islands of metal remain.

R. Newman, June 2015

Technical Observations: The disc was shaped from sheet metal, which was hammered and then raised by repoussé to form the decorative elements in the center and along some of the edges. Much of the disc is missing, probably as a result of mineralization, which must have weakened the metal in select areas. The two sets of paired holes along the remaining edge were made by punching through the metal; their edges are raised on both the front and back. The original surface of the object would have been smooth and finished. Much of the surface now appears to have a fine, even darker layer that delaminates easily in some areas, exposing a smooth reddish-brown metallic surface. The back of the delaminating layer is slightly greener. Much of the surface is also distorted by large green malachite formations.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)

Harry J. Denberg, New York, NY (by 1969), gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1969.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Harry J. Denberg
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
Bounding to the left, a stylized animal, perhaps a hippocamp, in repoussé graces the obverse of this fragmentary sheet-metal roundel. The creature’s preserved form comprises a long neck, two forelegs, and a looped tail. Attenuated horns are visible behind the neck, as if the missing head were tilted back. A motif in the form of an elongated C-shape open at the top embellishes the lower field, and the perimeter is enhanced with delicate raised dots, inside of which runs a finely incised double line.

Two sets of perforations, one near the tail and one below the oval motif, interrupt the repoussé dots. Additional perforations may have been situated at equal distances around the original edge. Stitching (or possibly pins) through the double perforations could have attached the roundel to a larger object or garment.

Luristan, Parthian, and Italic origins have been suggested for an array of decorated bronze discs; no objects of this type derive from Near Eastern archaeological contexts (1). Iron Age Iranian sheet metal pendants, pin heads, and cymbals with repoussé decoration provide the closest excavated parallels (2).


1. See C. Boisgirard, Archéologie: Collection de Monsieur R. B. à Genève, Bronzes du Luristan et de la Caspienne (Paris, 1997) 19, no. 109; P. Calmeyer, “Drei Metall-Tondi unbekannter Herkunft,” in Das Tier in der Kunst Irans, ed. F. Kußmaul, exh. cat., Linden-Museum (Stuttgart, 1972) nos. 73-75; E. de Waele, Bronzes du Luristan et d’Amlash, Publications d’historie de l’art et d’archeologie de l’Université Catholique de Louvain 34 (Louvain-La-Neuve, 1982) 210, no. 349 (dated to the Selucid or Parthian periods); D. G. Mitten and S. F. Doeringer, Master Bronzes from the Classical World (Mainz, 1967) 160-61; P. R. S. Moorey et al., Ancient Bronzes, Ceramics, and Seals (Los Angeles, 1981) 76-81, nos. 368-99; and O. W. Muscarella, Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1988) 271, no. 364.

2. See P. R. S. Moorey, Catalogue of the Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1971) 207-15 and 246-48, nos. 354-63 and 467-75; and Muscarella 1988 (supra 1) 124-25, no. 194.

Amy Gansell

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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