Kallos Gallery

An ancient near eastern lapis lazuli mace head

Circa 1st Millennium BC

 

5 cm high

An ancient near eastern lapis lazuli mace head

Circa 1st Millennium BC

5 cm high

 

A piriform shaped lapis lazuli mace head with a pierced hole at the center in the top going through to the bottom. A collared edge surrounds the shaft hole.

This mace head would originally have been attached to a wooden shaft and used for ceremonial purposes or as a weapon. Stone mace heads are some of the earliest ancient weapons, and were first used in predynastic Egypt. The earliest examples were shaped in the form of a disk, however in the Naqada II period of predynastic Upper Egypt these were replaced with the more effective and robust piriform shape.

Lapis lazuli was a treasured and highly prized stone in the ancient world. Mace heads carved in lapis were a rarity and consequently were often imitated in more cost effective materials such as glass. For an example of this see Collon, D., Ancient Near Eastern Art, London, British Museum Press, 1995, p.174, no.139e

Similar examples of the shape can be found in The Metropolitan Museum of art inv. no. 65.163.49 and 65.163.50.

PROVENANCE

Nina Borowski Collection, France, acquired circa 1985

Bonhams London, 25 April 2012, lot 150

 

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