Sunday 19 July 2020

Dancing Dinosaurs from "Luristan" Sold in by 'Cottage Antiquities Dealer' in Beckles

EBay seller ancienthistoryltd (1184 ) Beccles, United Kingdom has this remarkable ANCIENT LURISTAN BRONZE MASTER OF ANIMALS STATUETTE - LOTS OF DETAIL CA 1000BCE for sale (it went for GBP 77.00 Approximately US $97.38 [ 14 bids ])
Seller: ' Ancient History Limited', Leon Culley, Barnby Marsh Beccles Suffolk NR347QW)

The description is a bit curt:
Item specifics Material: Bronze APPROXIMATE SIZE AND WEIGHT IN MM: HEIGHT: 145 WIDTH: 171 DEPTH: 42 GRAMS: 556
PROVENANCE: All items are acquired from legitimate sources such as established galleries, International coin fairs and old British and European collections. The Authenticity of our items is guaranteed and protected by our 100% buyer satisfaction guarantee! If you have any further questions, please feel free to send a message! 

This object with the dancing dinosaurs drew a lot of attention ... (especially following Erin Thompson's tweets on it) described as a 'statuette', the seller did not go into any details about the odd iconography, the dinosaurs, the hole in the belly, the double-headed rabbit surfboard...

Meanwhile as Rory Mitchell (@rorymitchell  18 july) spotted, this item was clearly modelled on a bronze bridle bit cheekpiece (about 700 BC, Luristan, Iran) in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

And then we notice that then hole on the Beccles example does not go all the way through, rendering it useless as a bridle fitting !

This gentleman has 98 'antiquities' for sale at the moment, representing artefacts from all over the ancient world. There is a whole batch assigned to Luristan 1000BC (all with very similar 'patina'), a large collection of 'Roman' and 'Greek' finger rings - some with intaglios (made in Bulgaria'), some pretty notable 'Egyptian' items, some 'Near east'. The 'Mayan' figure is a copy of a Hongshan figure, the Viking stag is modelled on that from the Sutton Hoo sceptre. I'd say the collector worried about buying looted objects could quite safely buy everything we see on display here, not because of the vague assurance of the 'legitimate sources', but not a single one of them in my view has been illegally excavated on an archaeological site. But be sceptical of the descriptions...

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