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J. V. S. Megaw and M. Ruth Megaw

Style of European Iron Age art (see also Prehistoric Europe, §VI). The term is used to describe the distinctive art produced by the La Tène culture (named after the site of La Tène in Switzerland), which flourished c. 450–c. 50 bc in temperate continental Europe, extending to c. ad 600 in Britain and Ireland. (The Iron Age or Celto-Iberian art of Spain and Portugal is not considered here; see Iberian art.) The term Celtic art is also sometimes considered to include the later phase of the Hallstatt culture (c. 750–c. 450 bc) and the much later Early Christian art of Britain and Ireland (c. ad 450 onwards), which was greatly influenced by prehistoric La Tène art (see Insular art).

The Celts, according to Greek and Roman writers, were one of the great barbarian peoples of Europe. They cannot be easily defined on a racial or linguistic basis; indeed, the very name Keltoi was imposed on them by outsiders and not generally used by themselves. Although it is usually assumed that the material culture of the ...

Article

Eric de Waele

[Pers. Luristăn]

Region of Iran, near the border with Iraq, which has given its name to a remarkable series of ancient bronze objects, especially those produced between c. 1200 and 600 bc .

Luristan is situated in the central part of the Zagros mountain range, which runs north-west to south-east along Iran’s frontier with Iraq. The region can be divided into two parts: to the west is the Pusht-i Kuh (‘behind the mountain’), which descends towards the plains of Mesopotamia and Susiana, while to the east, at a higher altitude, lies the Pish-i Kuh (‘before the mountain’). Nomadic Lurs inhabit its high, fertile valleys.

The nomads who lived in the valleys of Luristan in antiquity were shepherds, horse-breeders, hunters and warriors. It is not known what they were called, for they have left no written sources, and suggestions that they might have been Kassites or Cimmerians must be rejected. They should perhaps be equated with the Ellipi, whose kingdom was overthrown by the Medes in ...

Article

Bent Nielsen

[Ning-hsiang]

County in Hunan Province, China, west of the city of Changsha. Several remarkable bronze vessels and bells of the late Shang Anyang phase (c. 1300–c. 1050 bc; see China, People’s Republic of, §VII, 3, (ii)) were at various times discovered in the ground or in watercourses in the vicinity of the town of Huangcai in Ningxiang County. Although the site is of the Anyang phase chronologically, the bronzes found there differ stylistically from Anyang bronzes.

In 1938 a bronze vessel of the fang zun (square wine vessel) type weighing 34.5 kg was found. The vessel is cast entirely within the tradition of the Anyang phase except for a ram protruding from each corner. The heads, necks, chests and forelegs of the rams are modelled with considerable attention to detail and realism, although they incorporate conventional surface decoration. On the shoulder of the vessel, that is on the rams’ backs, horned dragons lie curled, while stylized birds adorn part of the rams’ bodies. (A similar Anyang-phase bronze ...