This well-proportioned bronze deer stands rigid on four feet, his highly stylised head held proudly aloft, with the two antlers protruding backwards.
A large quantity of highly advanced and stylised bronze objects have been found throughout the Luristan region in north western, dating from approximately the 1stÂ Millennium B.C. It is believed they were mostly discovered during excavations from the 1930â€™s onwards. Many of these items include not only war related items such as axe heads, swords, horse tack and spears, but also figurative idols such as â€˜Master of Animalâ€™ finials, human idols (particularly those famously from the Piravend region), and small animal ornaments. It is not known what these more stylised idols and animal shaped bronzes would have been used for, many often have loops on the back presumably for hanging. Whether these items were carried about the person, however, or if the items were strung up around the domiciles, it is not known.
It is thought many of these idols, be it human or animal, were made in representation or in honour of various deityâ€™s or gods. Some scholars have claimed to recognize Indo-European, Vedic, or ZoroastrianÂ elements in such imagery, however all interpretations remain speculative. The â€œLuristan bronzeâ€ industry was phenomenon of the 1st millennium B.C. with no evidence of large scale bronze manufacture prior to this time, and with a terminus sometime before the beginning of the Achaemenid period. The reason why it ceased to function and whether it did so abruptly or gradually are unknown.
Â Erich Schmid, Surkh Dum (Sorá¸µdom) in PÄ«Å¡-e KÅ«h in 1938 and Louis Vanden Bergheâ€™s fifteen campaigns, all of them at tomb sites in PoÅ¡t-e KÅ«h, between 1965 and 1979.
Â Dussaud, 1949, p 213ff.
Â DumÃ©zil, p 18ff
Â Ghirshman, 1964, p 70ff
Â Encyclopaedia Irannica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 5, pp. 478-483, Muscarella, 1989.
Charles Gillet (1879-1972) Collection.
Baroness Goldschmidt-Rothschild (nee. Marion Schuster, 1902-1982), collection inv. no. 293.
Thence by descent to Nadine von Mauthner (nee. von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, 1927-2011) collection, Frankfurt.
Accompanied by signed affidavit from Mr J.P Froidevaux, grandson of Marion Schuster and a photo of the piece in the house of Nadine von Mauthner.
Note on the Provenance
Charles Gillet (1879â€“1972) was the son of a prominent French industrialist and came to run the familyâ€™s businesses, which became the important chemical firm RhÃ´ne-Poulenc. The great wealth he amassed as head of the family gave Gillet the freedom to pursue collecting in a variety of arts, including antiquities and numismatics. Gillet was known to have formed his collection with a keen eye for beauty, rarity, and quality.