Two Luristan Pins

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Two Luristan Pins

Luristan, Ancient Iran
1st Millennium B.C.
H: 24.5cm



Luristan bronzes are small cast objects from the early Iron Age. They have been found in tombs in large numbers in Luristan Province and Kermanshah in west central Iran. They often include tools, weapons, ornaments, horse fittings, and vessels, and date to around 1000-650 B.C. Luristan bronzes first came to light in the late 1920s, during excavations of the region. Surveys suggest that most settlements in Luristan were abandoned at the end of the bronze age , probably because of a minor climate change that may have resulted in disrupted agriculture, and although habitation continued it was probably on a more limited scale. It still remains unclear whether habitations in Luristan Province and Kermanshah were permanent or semi-permanent on a seasonal basis, or if sedentary and nomadic lifestyles coexisted in Luristan as they do today. These two bronze pins are possibly clothing pins. Similar examples have been discovered in numerous sites in various regions of Iran and even other neighbouring areas, made by different methods and styles and with very diverse designs. These two present examples have thin plain shanks, one surmounted by a monkey with bent knees and hands on the head, the other an oversized grotesque human face. The surface of the bronze is covered with a natural green patination which occurs when environmental factors interact with the alloys within the cast bronze.


‘Collection D. David-Weill: Bronzes des Steppes et de l’Iran’, Drouot, Paris, 28th-29th June 1972, Lot 223 & 224.
‘Collection David-Weill, Les antiquités du Luristan par Pierre Amiet’, Paris, 1976, No. 173 (monkey) & 174 (face).
David Aaron Ltd, 2022, No. 15.


Previously in the Private Collection of Mr D. David-Weill (1871-1952), acquired in 1931 and 1932.
Sold at: “Collection D. David-Weill: Bronzes des Steppes et de l’Iran”, Drouot, Paris, 28th-29th June 1972, Lot 223 & 224.
Private Collection, South of France.
ALR: S00214128, with IADAA certificate, these items have been checked against the Interpol database.

Note on the Provenance

David David-Weill (1871-1952), was an American-born collector, philanthropist and French banker, chairman of his family’s bank, Lazard Frères, in Paris. He was born in San Francisco on August 30, 1871. He was a serious and dedicated art collector who eventually bequeathed more than two thousand artworks to French and American museums.

David-Weill’s far ranging philanthropy included funding medical research, education and sanatoriums. His art patronage was equally diverse. He participated in the organisation of the 1928 Exposition des Arts Anciens d’Amerique and the 1931 Exposition d’Art Byzantine. He served as President du Conseil des Musées de France and in 1934 was elected to the Academy of Fine Arts. He actively worked for the development of the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris and in tribute the avenue David-Weill along it took his name in 1960.

He collected broadly, including French eighteenth-century art, Chinese bronzes (which he donated to the Musée Guimet), and cloisonné objects (which he donated to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs). David‐Weill seems to have held bronze objects in high regard, as he amassed an enormous group of small‐scale Iranian and Eurasian bronzes.

In August 1939, with the threat of war looming, his large collection was packed into 152 wooden crates, marked with the initials D. D‐W. 130 crates were sent to the Chateau du Sources in the south of France where his collection was stored alongside treasures from the Louvre. The other twenty‐two boxes went to Chateau de Mareil‐le‐Guyon. On April 11, 1941, German officers of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) arrived at Chateau du Sources, seizing the David‐Weill collection. The ERR also discovered and seized David‐Weill objects stored in Mareil le‐Guyon. The ERR sent David‐Weill’s collection to Germany for distribution amongst German museums. However, by the conclusion of the war in 1945, when David‐Weill’s collection resurfaced, it amazingly remained in its original, unopened crates. David‐Weill’s collection arrived in autumn 1945 at the Munich Central Collecting Point (MCCP), a depot organized by the American Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program (MFAA), where MFAA officers sorted, inventoried, and returned Nazi‐looted art to the rightful owners. The following year was spent coordinating the safe return of the David‐Weill collection to Neuilly. David‐Weill was reportedly so thrilled that they had found his collection, he sent “fine French wine and champagne” to the MCCP. Allied forces recovered the majority of David Weill’s collection and returned it to him by 1947. Objects that remained missing were included in the massive publication, produced between 1947 and 1949, ‘Répertoire des biens spoliés en France durant la guerre, 1939–1945’.

David-Weill died in Neuilly on 7 February 1952. What objects he had not bequeathed to the French National Museums, he willed to his family.