Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide to the Royal Riches
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In the Near East, the region stretching from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to present–day Afghanistan, mountains and river valleys provide abundant sources of clays, metal ores, and iron–rich pigments. These natural resources helped to nurture some of the earliest sophisticated developments in metalworking and pottery–making anywhere in the world. By 3500 B.C.E., metalworkers had established methods for extracting metal from its ores. They also knew that copper could be mixed (alloyed) with other metals to achieve materials of varying hardness, color, and working properties. By 2900 B.C.E., metalworkers had developed the basic techniques that were used until the modern era. The principal metals used by ancient Near East metalworkers were copper, silver, lead, and gold. Iron, a relative latecomer, was introduced around 1800 B.C.E.
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Northwest Iran, Iron Age II, 1000-800 B.C.E.
Bronze and stone; height 26.0 cm (10 1/4 in.)
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler    S1987.18

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
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