RED STONE MACE-HEAD
Egypt, Predynastic Period,
Naqada II or III, c. 3600 - 3100 B.C.
Height: 6 cm
Width: 5.8 cm
Height on stand: 14 cm
Nicely mounted on a plexi-glass display stand
Condition: Some age weathering on one side as
A mace is a blunt weapon, a type of club or virge—that uses a heavy head on the end of a handle to deliver powerful blows. A mace typically consisted of a strong, heavy, wooden or metal shaft, often reinforced with metal, featuring a head made of stone, copper, bronze, iron, or steel.
A rounded pear form of mace head known as a "piriform" replaced the disc mace in the Naqada II period of pre-dynastic Upper Egypt (3600-3250 BC) and was used throughout the Naqada III period (3250-3100 BC). Similar mace heads were also used in Mesopotamia around 2450-1900 BC. The Assyrians used maces probably about 19th century B.C. and in their campaigns; the maces were usually made of stone or marble and furnished with gold or other metals, but were rarely used in battle unless fighting heavily armored infantry.
There is a bow drilled hole that runs through the center, and there is wear on the outer edges at each end of the hole. This may be due to the fact that a leather thong was attached through the central perforation, and could have produced wear to the outer edges of the hole at each end. A leather thong was preferred over a rigid shaft that was directly attached to the stone mace-head, because a rigid shaft may not have withstood the blows, as this weapon generated a tremendous amount of energy at the point of attack. This theory was elaborated by Winifred Needler in "Predynastic and Archaic Egypt in The Brooklyn Museum", Brooklyn, New York, 1984, p.145 and 259. The piece seen here was not easy to make, and is in itself is a work of art, although it is a weapon of war.