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    Sale 12256

    Antiquities

    12 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1

    A EUROPEAN BRONZE SWORD

    LATE URNFIELD PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH-10TH CENTURY B.C.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A EUROPEAN BRONZE SWORD
    LATE URNFIELD PERIOD, CIRCA 12TH-10TH CENTURY B.C.
    The blade with a raised rounded midrib flanked by incised lines, tapering to the sharp cutting edges and point, the long tang inserted into the separately-cast hilt, with four rivets joining the stylized semi-circular guard to the blade, the grip ornamented with incised linear motifs, with four raised vertical bars framed by horizontal bands above and below, continuing onto the underside of the disk-shaped pommel, the terminal knob on the pommel encircled by linked spirals and hatched bands
    29 ½ in. (75 cm.) long


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    The Urnfield culture was a Late Bronze Age civilization in central Europe, dating from circa 1550-900 B.C. A highly militaristic people, they were known for widespread warfare that caused upheaval across the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. In addition to the examples found in Urnfield cemeteries in Europe, a large number of swords were found across Greece at sites like Mycenae and Tiryns on the mainland as well as Crete and the islands. From their presence, it has been deduced that these Northern peoples invaded and were responsible for the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Their military pursuits did not end there, since swords are found in the Eastern Balkans, Egypt and the Holy Land region.

    This type of sword finds its strength from its long sturdy tang, which is essentially the continuation of the blade below the grip, fastened by rivets. As H. Schutz explains (The Prehistory of Germanic Europe, p. 147), "This new sword, reinforced at the hilt, its blade weighted towards the tip, was a cleaving sword. Its user did not need to fear that the force of the impact would sever the rivets which joined hilt to blade." For a near identical sword, see no. 92 in Schutz, op. cit.

    Provenance

    Said to be found on the shores of the river Maas near the Belgian-Dutch border, circa 1880.
    Private Collection, Belgium, late 19th century.
    Antike Waffen und Militaria, Galerie Fischer, Lucerne, 11-13 September 2003, lot 385.
    with Rainer Zietz, London.
    Acquired by the current owner from the above, 2004.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION