Seljuk Slave warriors of the Samenid Dynasty, likely from Nishapur, ca. 11th Century AD.
Of bronze alloy, of tapering fluted form finely engraved with running arabesques along the length of each flute and surmounted by a shallow domed cap, and moulded circular socket engraved with a band of ropework above a row of diamond-shaped florets.
A mace head of this type was described by Niẓām al-Mulk as used by the Turkish slave warriors at the Ṣāmānid court. According to Niẓām al-Mulk a mace (with a ring for attaching it to the saddle) was not presented until a young slave-warrior had trained for five years, at which time the warrior was well on his way to becoming a commander, a position accorded in his seventh year.(Quoted in Lewis 1974, Vol. 2, p. 237).
A similar but not so attractive mace head was sold at Bonhams 18 Apr 2012, as lot 30 for £11.250 (ca. 15.000 USD!).
For another related example, in less fine condition see Bashir Mohamed, The Arts of the Muslim Knight ..., 2007, p. 246, no. 231 (illustrated)
Size: 16,5 cm. Weight: ca. 750 grams
Condition: Choice, fantastic dark green patina that highlights the engravings. Minor chip to the rim of the lower socket and many signs of use in combat!. This mace head was an important piece for the owner, so it was not used in practice.
Provenance: A Rheinish German Private Collection (W.D.), bought in the 1970s-1980s.