Luristan Bronzes
The exhibition includes three examples of ancient weapons dating from about 1500 to 500 B.C.E. These are made of bronze, and the patina of each depends in part on the particular composition of the metal and the conditions of the soil in which the individual items were buried. The examples on display were relatively simple castings, produced in a single operation by casting in two-piece moulds. All three examples are from the Colleciton of Bruce and Dorothy Brown.

Bibliography: Technical appraisal; "Iron and Steel" (copy of book chapter); "The Earliest Smelted Iron and Cast Iron in Antiquity," (copy of pages from book); "From Horse Buried with Their Masters: Luristan Bronzes," (copy from The Illustrated London News); "Mute, Yet Eloquent: The Significant Luristan Bronzes," (copy from The Illustrated London News); "More Light on the Luristan Bronzes," (copy from The Illustrated London News) (All in Document File).
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U990.5.9
Short sword
Bronze
Iran (Luristan)
c. 1500 - 500 B.C.E.

This short sword has a long, narrow straight-tapered blade, decorative guard, hilt and pommel. The blade has a central flat rib on both sides. The guard is emphasized with two animal heads, one on each side. The hilt is divided into three sections with a raised dot centrally placed in each section. The pommel features two animal heads facing opposite directions. Each has pronounced mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. The patina varies from greenish blue to light reddish-brown.
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U990.5.10
Dagger or short sword
Bronze
Iran (Luristan)
c. 1500 - 500 B.C.E.

A short sword or dagger, this used a more sophisticated type of casting to form the hollow hilt. Some kind of core was used, probably clay, which was later removed by breaking and extracting it through the longintudinal sloths, which are thus functional as well as decorative. It has a double-edged blade with central rib. The hilt ends in a pommel in the form of a curved plat, roughly rectangular in shape. The weapon is uniformly oxidized with a light green patina.
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U990.5.11
Dagger or short sword
Bronze
Iran (Luristan)
c. 1500 - 500 B.C.E.

This short sword or dagger has a straight-tapered blade, raised guard area, decorative hilt and pommel. The blade has a flattened central rib on each side. The pommel is arched. The patina ranges from blue-green to reddish-brown.
Talpur Swords
The first of the Talpurs, a Baluchi clan, established themselves in Sind in 1783 and divided into three ruling houses at Mirpur, Khaipur and Hyderabad. The Mirs, or princes of the ruling family, appear to have had a fondness for horses, arms and field sports. The name of the scion of the Talpur family on a sword indicates it might have been a gift from the Mir.

Both swords are from the collection of Bruce and Dorothy Brown. Bibliography: Hayes, Peter, "Swords of the Shazadas and Talpurs" (copy in document file)
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U990.5.5
Talpur Sword
Steel
India, c. 19th Century

This sword has a curved blade with an inscription, three stars and a crescent moon on each side.

James Burnes visited the court of the Mirs in 1831 and described their regard for jewellery and fine swords: "They estimate swords by their age and the finesness of steel...the blades are embellished with inscriptions in gold, which, in the case of those belonging to members of the family who are shahs usually consist of short prayers to Huzrut Ali for aid and protection and in others, of verses from the Koran or appropriate quotations from Persian authors." They sometimes were inscribed with names of the owners or the names of those who were to receive swords as gifts.
Indonesian Weapons
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U991.7.9A-B
Short Sword With Carved Wood Scabbard (Klewang; Parang)
Metal; Wood; Rattan; Hair
Indonesia (Borneo - Central Kalimantan)
20th century

This cutlass ("parang") has a smooth blade which is flat on one side and convex on the other. The hilt is wood with a band of woven plant fibres around the grip. The hilt has the shape of a "Y" with tufts of plant fibres on one end and dark hair on the other. The sheath is of wood tied with ropes and bands of rattan basketry. Swords like this had many purposes. Some were ceremonial, while others had utilitarian functions such as chopping timber, making wooden tools, or cutting hair. The blade is kept sharp and the convex shape is designed for efficiency in chopping wood. These could also be used as weapons, and were carried on a belt or slung across the back.

This example is from the Collection of Bruce and Dorothy Brown.

Bibliography: Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia.
Bidayu Shields
The exhibit includes three examples of carved and painted shields from the lowland community of the Kuching Division of Sarawak. These poeple, the Bidayuh, were formerly known as the Land Dayak, and are the thrid largest indigenous people in the Sarawak region of Borneo. All three shields are from the Collection of Colin Henderson Smith and Gloria M. (neé Boroughs) Smith.

Bibliography: Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia;; Haddon, "The Dog-motive in Bornean Art," (copy in document file).
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Shield
Wood; Paint
Sarawak (Malaysia - Borneo)
20th century

This shield is decorated with curvilinear motifs of red on white and black. There are two prominant eyes of a central mask in the centre, and tusk or fang-like forms extending from the mouth. The decorations surrounding the mask resemble "aso" motifs.

The reverse of the shield is also decorated with "aso' motifs in black, red, white and green. The handle is carved with incised decorations.
No Pic U992.23.17
Shield
Wood; Paint
Sarawak (Malaysia - Borneo)
20th century

A mask is the main decorative element of the outer surface of this shield. It is worked in white on red with black and yellow accents. The curvilinear decoration includes "aso" motifs stylized to resemble floral or swirling patterns. The reverse of the shield is decorated in black and white curvilinear motifs. The handle is carved with a decorative cut at the base.