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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Master of the Animals Finial
Work Type
10th-8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Luristan (Iran)
Iron Age
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast, lost-wax process
8.1 x 2.3 x 1.8 cm (3 3/16 x 7/8 x 11/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 81.28; Sn, 17.64; Pb, 0.3; Zn, 0.01; Fe, 0.1; Ni, 0.16; Ag, 0.02; Sb, 0.12; As, 0.36; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.015; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is green with perfectly preserved underlying areas of gray and spots of red. Three small holes with soft edges appear to be casting flaws rather than caused by corrosion. About one-third of the surface is perfectly preserved in a thin layer of gray corrosion products, which are probably related to the high tin content of this bronze.

The object was cast from a model created directly in the wax. The incised lines were probably enhanced with cold working. The top and bottom extremities are cast rather than cut or broken. There is a fine pattern of dendrites visible where the surface is well preserved.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

Louise M. and George E. Bates, Camden, ME (by 1971-1992), gift; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 1992.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Louise M. and George E. Bates
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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This simple, tube-like “master of animals” finial depicts a stylized man with a feline pressed close on each side. The man, who is janiform (having the same face on front and back), has semicircular, cauliflower ears (possibly animal ears) with two to three horizontal lines on their sides. His eyes are perhaps closed, rendered with two large lids and little space between them. His nose is large and triangular, his cheeks are puffed out, and his chin is very pointed. Instead of a cap, the top of his head is flat, with a hole in the center for insertion of a pin. Nothing else is distinguishable about the man’s body—only a plain cylinder appears under the animals. The animals are symmetrical to each other. They are pressed flat against the man, ears back, large eyes on the side of the head, and noses pressed to his shoulders. The animals’ forelegs are visible pressed closely to their sides. The hindlimbs are more bulbous at the hip, tapering down the leg, and ending in paws that are also flattened against the front. The top view of the animals (on the side of the finial) is in relief, high at the head and hindquarters and raised at the shoulders. The animals have long, straight tails ending in single spirals.
Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

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