Iron Age III
H: 9.3 W: 18.1 D: 0.5 cm
Northwestern Iran, Northwestern Iran
Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn to the Smithsonian Institution S1986.496
A breastplate shielded the chest from arrows or other weapons. The decoration on this example consists of mythical guardian creatures, whose images were believed to provide magical protection for the wearer.
A pectoral made of thin sheet gold, like this one, would have been attached to a sturdier material, probably leather. Given the fragility and cost of the material and its intricate decoration, the pectoral may have been fashioned specifically for ceremonial use or burial equipment.