Ewer decorated with female figures

Historical period(s)
Sasanian period, 6th-7th century
Silver and gilt
H x W x D (overall): 32.5 x 15.2 x 12.3 cm (12 13/16 x 6 x 4 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel


bird, chasing, child, flower, fruit, gilding, hammering, Iran, peacock, repousse, Sasanian period (ca. 224 - 651), woman, WWII-era provenance

To 1967
R. & D. Anavian, Tehran, Iran [1]

From 1967 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York, purchased from R. & D. Anavian on May 2, 1967 [1]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler, New York [2]


[1] See invoice for purchase dated May 2, 1967 in object file, Collections Management.

[2] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.

Previous Owner(s)

R. & D. Anavian
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987


Among the silver vessels made in Iran during the sixth and seventh centuries were pear-shaped vases and pouring vessels, or ewers, closely related in form and elaborate gilded decoration. The examples displayed here share the theme of females holding symbolic objects. The figures were modeled in part after Roman personifications of the Seasons and Months, and representations of female attendants in the cult of Dionysos, the Greek god of wine and ecstatic experience.

Published References
  • Ann C. Gunter. The Art of Eating and Drinking in Ancient Iran. vol. 1, no. 2 New York. pp. 6, 48.
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales. Silk Road Saga: The Sarcophagus of Yu Hong. p. 17.
  • Annette Hagedorn. Islamic Art. Germany. p. 30.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 45-46.
  • 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. 36, pp. 45, 198-201.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 23b, pp. 52-53.
  • Near Eastern Studies: Dedicated to H.I.H. Prince Takahito Mikasa on the Ocassion of His Seventy-Fifth Birthday. Bulletin of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan Wiesbaden. cat. 3, pp. 67-84.
  • America's Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years. Washington, 1996. p. 96.
  • Donald S. Lopez Jr, Rebecca Bloom. Hyecho's Journey: The World of Buddhism. Chicago, IL, December 2017. p. 202, fig. 22.
  • Daniel T. Potts, Kate Masia-Redford. Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran. Oxford handbooks Oxford, New York. p. 933, fig. 48.4.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Near Eastern Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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