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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Masterpieces : Bactrian Bronze Axe Head
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Bactrian Bronze Axe Head - LO.1359
Origin: Afghanistan
Circa: 1200 BC to 900 BC
Dimensions: 4.75" (12.1cm) wide
Collection: Near Eastern Art
Style: Bactrian
Medium: Bronze
Condition: Extra Fine

Location: Great Britain
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It seems that the reasons why we war are the only things that have endured in the long history of armed conflict. In every other way, the very meaning of the word war has drastically shifted over the course of several thousand years. As warrior hoards became structured legions, less and less emphasis was placed upon individual prowess and courage. As spear became musket- the art of battle became nothing more than a commander’s wit and his numbers. The World Wars and the machine gun ushered in the current age of war, in which technology and tactics play the most important roles in combat- number of men and the skill of the soldier taking a back seat. But with great fondness we may recall the intimate and romantic warfare of the Ancients. When the prowess of a warrior meant the food in his belly and the sanctity of his home. When one met eyes with his opponent, and felt the strength of his arm and the speed of his leg in the interconnection of metal. To such soldiers, who knew that their enemy would be in every way involved with them personally- the craft and art of their weapon was just as important as the skill of their body. The grace and infinite beauty of this axe-head stand as a testament to the skill of metallurgists and passion of warrior-artists that lived and came to arms in Bactria over three thousand years ago. The sharp sweep of its rear- blade, the ferocity of the eye that gapes atop its haft- cover, and the supple fluidity of the blade make it a dazzling remnant of some the most romantic battlefields in history. This blade takes us back to a time when men were men and iron was iron. It is so very easy to imagine it blazing through the air- singing a duet of the ripping wind and tanging metal with the blade of an enemy. The soldier who held this was infinitely more involved with his weapon than anything we in the modern world could hope to experience. When ever, has such a beautiful masterwork been so vital to survival? When has an object ever been witness to such displays of heroism and strength on our part? It is rare to see an exhibition of such metallurgical brilliance- and ever more valuable when we consider the brave man who carved out his fortunes, and the fate of empires under its flashing blaze - (LO.1359)


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