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kronckew 27th October 2017 07:10 PM

Luristan revisited
3 Attachment(s)
found a luristan bronze axe head of the type i've been looking for yesterday at auction. sadly, it went for about six times my max bid. it's the simpler one below.

today, i stumbled on one again, a more elaborate version, with a low minimum bid same as yesterdays, i bid a tenner over the minimum online and won it for 4 over, the only other bidder only bid 2 over the minimum.

anyhow, i'm guessing these are likely to be fairly recent copies, tho the decorative lines on the one i won are quite crisp rather than blurred as they'd be if cast from a mould of a real one instead of the original moulds.

it was listed as 18.5 X 9 CM. i'll add some more dimensions/ weight and maybe some better pics when it arrives.

anyhow, i respect your opinions. what do you think? real/copy? clues as to your conclusions? all appreciated. thanks in advance for any comments.

i've also re-read our old thread here:


mariusgmioc 29th October 2017 04:09 PM


In recent years the market has been literally flooded by Luristan and Warring States bronze artifacts, with the vast majority being fakes. Some of the fakes can be spotted easily, while others can fool even the most experienced experts and require specialized laboratory testing. That's why I am highly suspicious when I see any of these artifacts.

And the fact you didn't receive any replies so far seems to suggest there might be others who share my suspicions. :shrug:

But I am sure you already know all this. ;)

PS: Other than that, the axe looks really cool. :)

Battara 29th October 2017 04:45 PM

I'm afraid I'm with Mariusgmioc on this. I have seen too many fakes on the web and in person. i just walk away from them when I see them. The patina can easily be faked.

My ignorance always stops me from purchasing somethings. If I now little about an object, I then pass on it. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

kronckew 29th October 2017 06:13 PM

thanks, battara & marius.

i bought this on the assumption it was not antique, let alone 3000 yrs. old, probably not even 'vintage'. i bought is cheap, instead of the hundreds of uk pounds i've seen them go for, which i will not pay, i can't afford them, so it can be a nice wallhanger when i get a haft worked up for it. i may even polish it a bit :). i'll think of it as a placeholder in my axe display area. thought i'd check y'all here before i fart around with a real one & screw it up. :D

thought it was kinda cool with the extra added animals, which is i have read rare but not unheard of.

Battara 29th October 2017 06:17 PM

I have seen museum examples more in line with the first one.

Glad you didn't pay a lot. A museum might be able to tell you more about it. But as mentioned earlier a good testing would be able to tell for sure.

motan 30th October 2017 11:05 AM

Hi Battara,
I agree with you. Most chances that both are copies, but the first one is a much better copy. Could also be real, who knows?
Copper and broze casting is relatively easy technique that can be performed in basic workshop conditions - I have seen artisans from Mali doing it.
It is also easy to make these artifacts look old, so forgeries of Luristan bronze are quite easy to make.
Luristan bornze is intriguing because their cultural background is unclear. As weapons, it is logical to assume they were more ritual than functional, as iron working was already established in the region at the time of their making. It is true that relatively great numbers of artifacts were found in Luristan, but the sheer number of artifacts on the market makes it very improbable that they are all real. Because of this and the fact that only a very professional analysis can tell a real from fake suggests that it is better to stay away from Luristam bronze

Jens Nordlunde 30th October 2017 04:29 PM

In the Moser catalogue 1955 three or four axe heads like the one Kronckew is showing are shown.
They have been collected early, but if they are the real thing is hard to say. I dont know if the museum has tested them, or if they trusted Henri Moser's knowledge. Nor do I know when the real mass prodiction of Luristan bronzes began.
Does anyone know?

kronckew 30th October 2017 05:42 PM

1 Attachment(s)
interesting pdf on these axes here:

motan 31st October 2017 08:35 AM

Hi kronckew,
Good article. Thanks. It also answers Jens' question. Bronze axes and other artefacts came to Luristan by cultural diffusion from areas to the west such as the Levant, Mesopotamia and Elam at the end of late bronze age (13th c. BCE), developed into highly ornamented and stylized products during early iron age and reached their peak production towards the end of early iron age in the 7th c. BCE.
Most were found as grave gifts in large grave sites without any associated settlements (even larger part was illigally excavated and origin is not registered-another reason not to buy them). Therefore, their cultural background is unclear. It has been suggested that their makers were nomads. It makes sense because several nomad cultures, in particular the Scyths are known to have burial sites with rich and higly ornamented grave gifts.

colin henshaw 31st October 2017 09:04 AM

It makes sense because several nomad cultures, in particular the Scyths are known to have burial sites with rich and higly ornamented grave gifts.[/QUOTE]

Interesting you have mentioned the Scythians, as there is currently running at the British Museum, London an excellent exhibition "Scythians Warriors of Ancient Siberia". Runs until 14th January 2018 and in my opinion for anyone in London, well worth seeing. Website

kronckew 9th November 2017 01:01 PM

1 Attachment(s)
well, the vendor seems to have more than one of these exact duplicates for sale cheaply, so the odds are in favour of it being a recent copy.

on a brighter (or darker) note, i've had someone comment to me that it could be authentic scythian grave goods, tho i'm not in favour of encouraging grave robbing (or the egyptian version either)

anyhow, i've cleaned it up a bit with an old toothbrush to get rid of the powdery light green verdigris surface stuff, added a suitable hardwood haft & have a nice wall hanger. it came with a nice sharp edge too.

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