When in 1931, Professor Sidney Smith reported on a Luristan bronze in the British Museum such objects were comparatively rare. Since then, however, they have entered public and private collections in large numbers. This group in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, is published by kind permission of the Syndics of the Museum.
The cast bronze standards and harness ring (Plate I) are fine examples of well attested types. While the decoration of the harness ring (b) with a mouflon head and two crouching felines is conventional, the modelling of the animals and the composition of the design are exceptionally good. An unusual feature is that the horn tips, which are seized in the animals' jaws, join the ring so that the trilobate form of the object is clearly defined. Most effective also, is the contrast between the smooth surfaces of the bodies and the ring and the ribbing of horns, paws and triple girdles.
The larger standard (I, a) depicts the popular motive of the hero between two felines. Whereas on some examples he holds the beast in his outstretched arms, he is here abbreviated to a head with strongly defined facial features, single side curls and long beard. The top of his head has a spray-like design and may represent a cap. Its point, together with the animals' snouts, form the aperture for the rod which originally transfixed the standard to its base. The felines' paws grasping the hero's chin, and also their forelegs, have the horizontal ribbing of his beard of which, in consequence, they appear at first glance to form part. The shoulder muscles of the animals have the shape of a bird's head with curved beak, probably the griffin which occurs on other standards as a detached head. The circle of the bird's eye is repeated on each of the haunches, a device which effectively gives unity and balance to the whole composition. Without it the heavily decorated upper half would overweigh the lower. There is a similar circle on the rump of each animal.