Urartian Bronze Belt with Winged Lions and Pomegranate Florals

£ 2,800.00

An extremely fine Urartian bronze armour belt, preserved in an almost intact condition. This bronze belt is finely hammered and composed of four rectangular, segmented pieces that curve to form a complete belt. Each piece is ornamented with four horizontal bands, comprised of spherical embossments which are neatly arranged into four registers, protruding from the surface. The embossed registers are interspersed with three plain bands, creating a beautiful aesthetic pattern. The belt features two terminal panels, at each end which are gilded and richly decorated with Assyrian-inspired patterns. Winged lions and the derived pomegranate floral motifs alternate with each other in a rhythmical repetition, illustrating a strong Assyrian aesthetic style. Two integrally cast bronze loops extend from the edges of the terminal sections, which were used to fasten to the leather lining. This is a rare example of a mostly intact piece. The belt is mounted onto a circular modern ring stand, to aid in its preservation and form.


Date: Circa 8th-7th century BC
Provenance: Acquired on the London art market, 1994. Property of a North London gentleman. Accompanied by an archaeological report by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
Condition: Very fine condition, this bronze belt is composed of connected pieces, strung on a modern metal mount.

After the fall of the Hittite Empire, in the early first millennium B.C., Anatolia was dominated by the Phrygian and the Urartian kingdoms. Having occupied the heartland in eastern Anatolia, the Urartian formed an Iron Age culture encompassing the charms of both the identifiable indigenous tastes and strong Assyrian aesthetic traditions. Lacking natural resources, the Assur kingdom engaged with the Urartian in continuous hostilities, which brought intense military and cultural contacts between these two powerful political powers in Iron Age Anatolia. Examples of Urartian belts exist rather extensively, however their period of manufacture was rather short, confined to 150 years. Belts such as this fine example would have been ceremonial in use. The rivets at the top and bottom show that the piece would have been attached to a length of leather fabric to secure it in place more easily. This is a beautiful example of the finest Urartian craftsmanship. 

Dimensions L 25.5 x H 8 cm



Near East (Western Asiatic)

Reference: For a similar item: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, item 52.123.

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