Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Spearhead

Date:
1200–800 B.C.
Culture:
Bronze Age
Medium:
Copper alloy
Dimensions:
Overall: 15 9/16 x 2 3/8in. (39.5 x 6.1cm)
wood: 5 1/8in. (13cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Copper alloy
Credit Line:
Gift of Peter Sharrer, 1998
Accession Number:
1998.540.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
This spearhead represents the highest tradition of the British Bronze Age. The piece is undeniably beautiful: its shape is elegant and spare to the point of evoking modern art. The socket of the spearhead is hollow and includes two peg holes. These would allow the shaft of the spear to be replaced often without undue difficulty; a possession such as this would be much too valuable not to use again and again. When given to the Museum, there was in fact a small section of wood still remaining inside.

The spearhead almost certainly comes from the Selbourne/Blackmoor hoard of Bronze Age objects, found in the nineteenth century in Hampshire. The hoard was acquired by two great nineteenth-century collectors: first by the antiquarian George Roots, and then by General A. H. Pitt-Rivers, an omnivorous collector especially interested in British objects and also a renowned archaeologist.
Found in Hampshire, England; George Roots, London; [his sale, Christie's, London( April 20, 1891, lot 33)]; Lt. General Augustus Pitt Rivers, Farnham, Dorset, England (1891-?); [ Alistair McAlpine, London (1987)]; Peter Sharrer, New York (until 1998)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1998-1999." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57, no. 2 (Fall 1999). p. 14.

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