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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Sun 31 Jul, 2016 6:01 am    Post subject: Another Bronze Age Luristan short-sword- or is it?         Reply with quote

Greetings fellow enthusiasts.

I am principally a collector of 16th-17th century arms and armour, and it is there that my library and (meagre) expertise lie. Recently though, a sword has caught my eye, which the dealer claims is a Luristan short sword, 15" long and dating to about 1000BC. I have absolutely no knowledge in this area at all.

Looking through the previous posts on here, of which there are plenty, concerning Luristan swords and spear heads, I get the impression that broadly speaking a so-called Luristan sword:

(1) might be a Chinese copy;
(2) might be a tourist/collectible;
(3) if genuine it is probably looted;
(4) without a metallurgical analysis it is almost impossible to be certain about anything.

A bit of research through books on weapons of the era leads me to think that this sword looks the part- ergo it is either genuine or a fake, but not likely to be a genuine sword of a totally different era/culture. It certainly doesn't seem to me to be anything like the Chinese swords that are on the market.

That said- the dealer is only asking for 500 for the sword. By any standard this seems pretty cheap to me. Is this in itself a reason to be suspicious?

Is anyone here able to give any insight? The attached photos are the only ones that the dealer has posted. Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice.



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Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sun 31 Jul, 2016 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would say it is a forgery. The patina is very even and mild throughout the piece, which is not improbable, but that leads me to wonder why the termination on the rolled hilt is broken on one side while the rest of the sword remains largely unscathed. It seems like it was purposely damaged to give a sense of antiquity, but the damage incurred seems to be very unlikely to have happened by accident. This feature is particularly suspicious because if you look up "Luristan sword" or "Luristan dagger" on Google Images, many of those for sale have also mysteriously lost or broke just a single hilt piece despite rather beautiful preservation otherwise. Strikes me as being a trick of the forger's trade.

This may have been inspired by the existence of a very small number of confirmed originals featuring the same damage, such as this piece from the Copenhagen Museum:

http://www.tf.uni-kiel.de/matwis/amat/iss/kap...nhagen.jpg

However, that so many of the examples for sale happen to share this quality is very striking and I would consider it a warning. One should also note the rough and varied patina that occurs to most original examples, such as those in the photo above. This may be largely attributed to imperfections in the alloy or the decay of time. More even patinas are a probable sign of purposeful degradation. That many originals exhibit brown spots almost reminiscent of rust is fine evidence of imperfections in the metallurgy, which is apparently hard to replicate.

-Gregory

(p.s. I'm not an expert on metallurgical studies or Near Eastern bronze age technology, though I have stared at literally hundreds of Bronze Age weapons in museums and have considered the matter more than once. The above are my opinions as an amateur observer.)
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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Posts: 3,205

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is either a forgery or illegally excavated but it isn't from Luristan. When someone says that an item was found in Luristan they really mean that it was illegally looted from somewhere in the Middle East but they don't want to tell you where. But my money would be on forgery because of the factors outlined by Greg. The odds are good that it is made from a modern brass and not bronze at all.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 1:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan, Gregory- thank you both for your comments. I have seen your advice on other similar threads and I respect and value your knowledge.

Dan- you say that, if genuine, it wouldn't necessarily be from Luristan. What advantage would there be in claiming it is from Luristan rather than atteibuting it to its true origin? (assuming the origin is indeed of genuine antiquity?)

The dealer seems to be reputable and honest- the other items he has seem to be OK. If he genuinely believes this sword is the real deal, I would saybthis goes to show how difficult it can be, and how careful one must be. On this basis I will leave it well alone!

Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,205

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The dealer doesn't have a clue where it is from. Whomever sold it to him said it was from Luristan. But if he really thought it was worth some money he would have paid to get it appraised and certified rather than letting his customers assume all the risk.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The dealer doesn't have a clue where it is from. Whomever sold it to him said it was from Luristan. But if he really thought it was worth some money he would have paid to get it appraised and certified rather than letting his customers assume all the risk.


Thanks Dan. I have no trust in the item, but I have asked the dealer for info on the provenance- it would be interesting to see what they come up with, but I suspect that they will say they don't know anything about it. Tends to be the way when something's a bit fishy.

Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 2:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
It is either a forgery or illegally excavated but it isn't from Luristan. When someone says that an item was found in Luristan they really mean that it was illegally looted from somewhere in the Middle East but they don't want to tell you where. But my money would be on forgery because of the factors outlined by Greg. The odds are good that it is made from a modern brass and not bronze at all.


The seller has responded that the sword is from a prominent collection, gathered over 25 years. He has also emphasised that every item comes with a CoA. It seems to me that he is honest, but just wrong about this item.

As for CoAs- they are essentially worthless in my view. They are simply a warranty, like you'd get with a new television. The warranty doesn't say the tele won't break, it just says you'll get your money back when it does. Ditto at CoA doesn't prove authenticity: it simply means you can (probably) claim your money back once you realise you've been sold a forgery.

Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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