2,800 Year-Old Helmet and Quiver are examples of the Military Prowess of an Ancient Superpower


NEW YORK, November 15, 2011 – Hixenbaugh Ancient Art Ltd announces the exhibition of two rare and important Neo-Assyrian military artifacts dating to the 9th century BC: a bronze quiver inscribed with the name of King Shalmaneser III, ca. 859-824 BC, and a unique bimetallic helmet. These rare objects are among the few surviving examples of the military technology of what is considered to be the first substantial military power in history.

The Neo-Assyrian bronze quiver assemblage is decorated with incised scenes of winged demons, holding buckets and pine cones, pollinating the intertwined tree of life. A cuneiform inscription labels the quiver "property of Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, son of Ashur-Nasirpal, king of Assyria, son of Tukulti-Ninurta, king of Assyria." Only a handful of Neo-Assyrian quivers are known, including examples in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre. Our example was published in 1960, and thereafter was in the respected collection of Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987). The quiver is accompanied by a metal analysis confirming its authenticity and age.

The Neo-Assyrian bronze helmet was originally a bimetallic, bronze and iron, pointed conical helmet of very elaborate design. Although the iron section is now preserved only in fragments, having deteriorated long ago, the bronze half remains in excellent condition. The ostentatious use of iron at this early date, when the technology of smelting iron ore was still unknown outside of the Eastern Mediterranean, is especially significant. This is the only known helmet of this type to survive from antiquity. The form is depicted on numerous contemporary Neo-Assyrian palace reliefs at Nineveh and Nimrud. The metallurgy and composition of this helmet have been thoroughly analyzed and published by Hermann Born and Urusula Seidl in Schutzwaffen aus Assyrien und Urartu, Sammlung Axel Guttmann, vol. 4, (Mainz, 1995), pp. 134 ff., pl. XIII-XV, ills. 103-115. The helmet comes from the world renowned collection of ancient arms and armor assembled by the German collector Axel Guttmann (1944-2001).

The Neo-Assyrian Empire flourished from the 10th Century BC through the late 7th Century BC becoming the most dominant entity in the Middle East. At its peak, it controlled all of Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Egypt. The Neo-Assyrian Empire is regarded as the first substantial military power in history. Their army utilized large units of cavalry and skilled archers. Mobile workshops and smiths were dedicated to producing vast amounts of arrows and spears that were required while on campaign. The royal palaces of Nineveh, Ashur, and Nimrud were adorned with reliefs depicting Neo-Assyrian troops including archers with long quivers, horseman bearing lances, and masses of foot soldiers in pointed bronze helmets.

Antiquities of this rarity and quality are highly sought after by both museums and private collectors, not only for their beauty and historical significance but also for their investment value. "Archaeological objects of this importance have become increasingly difficult to obtain," said gallery director Randall Hixenbaugh. "In light of recent events in the region, it is vital that ancient Near Eastern antiquities on the market not only have clear provenance but also have been previously published, as is the case with both of these objects."

These Neo-Assyrian pieces along with hundreds of other examples of fine quality Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art are on display at Hixenbaugh Ancient Art Ltd, 320 East 81st Street, New York, Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 6, and by appointment.





Past Exhibitions

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through October 14

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The GODDESS exhibition features sculpture of of the divine female form in antiquity.

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on view through February 25

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From 09/15/2016 to 10/15/2016


From 06/09/2016 to 07/30/2016


From 04/07/2016 to 05/28/2016


December through February 2016

From 12/10/2015 to 02/13/2016

Art of Ancient America

From 10/29/2015 to 12/05/2015

On view in our Chelsea gallery from October 29 through December 5

PAX ROMANA: Roman art exhibition

From 09/17/2015 to 10/24/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from September 17 to October 24


From 06/04/2015 to 08/01/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from June 4 to August 1

SYMPOSIUM: Wine and Revelry in Antiquity

From 04/16/2015 to 05/30/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from April 16th to May 30.

the face of antiquity

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Our inaugural show in our newly opened Chelsea gallery, on view now through April 11th, explores the widely varied depictions of the human face in ancient art.


From 06/01/2008 to 06/30/2008

Our current exhibition includes a number of rare and unusual examples of ancient arms and armor including, Greek bronze helmets and horse armor, Roman legionary bricks, Celtic swords and spears, as well as a number of ancient projectile points.

FEMINA: Women of Antiquity

From 03/27/2008 to 04/30/2008

A special exhibition examining the iconography of women in ancient art


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