Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Bequest of Samuel Eilenberg, 1998
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 234
These anthropomorphic figures, harpoons, ax blades (celts), and antennae swords were cast and hammered from unalloyed copper. They may be dated to 1500 to 1000 B.C. Given that pure copper is a relatively soft metal and most of the objects show little or no signs of wear, it seems likely that their function was largely dedicatory. Hoards of such objects have been found across north India, the greatest concentration being in Uttar Pradesh. The findspots suggest they were ritually deposited in rivers or marshes, though several related antennae swords were recorded in late Indus Valley civilization (ca. 1500 B.C.) burials at Sanauli.