Important ceremonial axe, with a fine decoration in relief representing a man riding a large bird. Bronze, with partly encrusted reddish-green patina. Oxus Civilisation, 2300-1700 B.C. Height: 17.4 cm, length: 10 cm. Soil encrustations, otherwise very good condition. NOTE 1: interpretations differ as to the origin of such axes, which also prevailed not only in Margiana and Bactria but in Elam and some sites in Eastern Iran. NOTE 2: The blunted blade seems to demonstrate that at the royal courts similar weapons were prominent symbols of rank. NOTE 3: Another interpretation, not in opposition to the interpretation in NOTE 2, is that these axes were awarded by the rulers of Elam to dignitaries in recognition of particular merits.