Battle-Axe with Handle
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
As early as the Predynastic Period, Egyptian foot soldiers relied on fearsome battle-axes and sharp daggers to crush their opponents in hand-to-hand combat, and employed the bow and arrow from a distance.
Originally there was no difference in design between the battle-axe and the woodworker’s axe; both featured a semicircular blade tied to a wooden handle by cords. In the Middle Kingdom, toolsmiths developed a more effective weapon that had a long blade with convex sides narrowing to a curved edge.
Most daggers, which resembled short swords, had double-edged blades riveted to ivory or bone handles and reinforced by a vertical rib.
The bow and arrow remained an Egyptian’s most effective weapon. (Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Museum does not have a complete example.) Archers shot from a stationary position or from the cab of a moving chariot as a skilled driver spurred on the horses. Reconstruction
Bronze, wood, leather
ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E.
3 13/16 x 5/16 x 5 1/4 in. (9.7 x 0.8 x 13.4 cm)
Other (handle): 20 1/16 in. (51 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Battle-Axe with Handle, ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E. Bronze, wood, leather, 3 13/16 x 5/16 x 5 1/4 in. (9.7 x 0.8 x 13.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.282E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CONS.37.282E_1997_xrs_detail01.jpg)
xray, detail, CONS.37.282E_1997_xrs_detail01.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 1997
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