Historical period(s)
Sasanian period, 6th-7th century
Medium
Silver and gilt; hammered, repousse, chased, gilded
Dimensions
H x Diam (overall): 18.2 × 11.1 cm (7 3/16 × 4 3/8 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1965.20
On View Location
Sackler Gallery 21: Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Vessel
Type

Vase

Keywords
bird, chasing, gilding, hammering, Iran, repousse, Sasanian period (ca. 224 - 651), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1965
Marguerite Mallon, Paris. [1]

From 1965
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Marguerite Mallon, Paris. [2]

Notes:

[1] See correspondences between Marguerite Mallon and the Director of the Freer Gallery of Art, John Pope; copies in the object file. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Marguerite Mallon died 1977

Label

A large group of Sasanian silver and gilt vases of similar shape illustrates themes and motifs connected with the cult of Dionysos, the ancient Greek god of wine and ecstatic experience.  Of this group, however, only this particular example depicts the god himself.
Appropriately, this imagery is found on vessels such as this one, which was used to contain wine.  Elaborately decorated silver and gilt examples of this shape were made toward the end of the Sasanian period, the sixth and seventh centuries, as luxury banqueting equipment. 

Published References
  • Arts of the Hellenized East: Orecious Metalwork and Gems of the Pre-Islamic Era. .
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 50.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. From Byzantium to Sasanian Iran and the Islamic World: Three Modes of Artistic Influence. The L.A. Mayor Memorial Studies in Islamic Art and Archaeology Leiden. pp. 3-4, pl. 1.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. A Persian Treasure. no. 8, Fall-Winter 1967-1968. cat. nos. 1-2, pp. 29-41, figs. 14-16.
  • Ecclesiastical Silver Plate in Sixth-Century Byzantium Vessels: Papers of the Symposium held May 16-18, 1986 at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore and Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Washington. pp. 147-53.
  • Michael Vickers. Metrological Reflections: Attic, Hellenistic, Parthian and Sasanian Gold and Silver Plate. vol. 24, no. 2 Paris. pp. 163-85.
  • Ann C. Gunter, Paul Jett. Ancient Iranian Metalwork in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Mainz, Germany, 1992. cat. 33, pp. 188-190.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 308-309.
  • Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae. 2 vols., Munich and Zurich, 1981-c1997. cat. 90, p. 522.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Near Eastern Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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