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Spring 1993

3,000 Year-Old Copper/Bronze Statue On Display

Image courtesy of Musee de Louvre, Paris.

Fashioned out of copper over bronze, the headless statue of Queen Napir-Asu is one of the highlights of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Called "The Royal City of Susa," the exhibition, on display in New York until March 7, also contains other objects made out of copper or bronze including a 400-pound, bronze lion about 2,500 years old.

The 51-inch Queen (without head) consists of a delicately patterned copper shell mounted on a bronze core. The sculpture, more than 3,000 years old, weighs 3,760 pounds and consists of a core of cast bronze containing 11% tin on which is mounted a copper shell cast in two halves neatly fitted together. The copper contains 1% tin plus traces of lead, iron, silver, nickel, bismuth and cobalt. The shell is attached to the core by means of copper drift pins.

The Queen's husband, Untash-Napirisha, reigned over the Kingdom of Elam in the 14th Century, B.C. His capital, Susa (biblical Shushan) in what is now southwestern Iran, existed for 3,000 years. It was excavated by French archeologists early in this century. All 200 objects in the exhibition are on loan from the Louvre.

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