Spouted vessel with lynx protome

Rhyton with slender steep horn rising to outturned and folded-over rim; attached to separately made protome in the form of the head and forepart of a lynx. Ring covers join of horn and protome. Forelegs of animal made separately and set into body. Spout projects from chest of animal between legs. Rim, turned over and gilded on exterior, preserves inscription.

Mouth of lynx open, tongue protruding; tufts of hair shown protruding from each ear. Fur depicted by parallel punched lines.Swirl pattern on shoulders and also on chest above protruding tublar spout. Collar around neck.

Historical period(s)
Parthian period, 1st century BCE-1st century CE
Medium
Silver and gilt
Dimensions
H x W x D: 23.5 x 12.4 x 30.4 cm (9 1/4 x 4 7/8 x 11 15/16 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Accession Number
S1987.131
On View Location
Freer Gallery 21a: Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Vessel
Type

Spouted vessel

Keywords
casting, cat, chasing, gilding, hammering, Iran, Parthian period (247 BCE - 224 CE), punching, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Description

Rhyton with slender steep horn rising to outturned and folded-over rim; attached to separately made protome in the form of the head and forepart of a lynx. Ring covers join of horn and protome. Forelegs of animal made separately and set into body. Spout projects from chest of animal between legs. Rim, turned over and gilded on exterior, preserves inscription.

Mouth of lynx open, tongue protruding; tufts of hair shown protruding from each ear. Fur depicted by parallel punched lines.Swirl pattern on shoulders and also on chest above protruding tublar spout. Collar around neck.

Inscription(s)

According to a reading by Philipp Gignoux, École des Hautes Études, Paris, the inscription on the rim is in Parthian, and gives the weight of the vessel: "...MN ZWZYN 100 + 60 + 7 = 167 drachma" (letter dated 25 April 1986)

Label

Drinking vessels with a tall horn joined to the protome (forepart) of a lynx, panther, or lion, are sometimes depicted in Hellenistic and Roman art. They are usually identified as objects used in celebrating the cult of Dionysos, the Greek god of wine and ecstatic experience, which spread over a wide area of the eastern Mediterranean and southwest Asia.

Published References
  • "Orecious Metalwork and Gems of the Pre-Islamic Era." Arts of the Hellenized East. .
  • Weihrauch und Seide: alte Kulturen an der Seidenstrasse. Vienna. .
  • 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. 11, pp. 34, 98-100.
  • Ann C. Gunter. The Art of Eating and Drinking in Ancient Iran. vol. 1, no. 2 New York. p. 41, fig. 24.
  • Ann C. Gunter. Ancient Iranian Drinking Vessles. vol. 18, no. 9 Hong Kong, September 1987. p. 42, fig. 8.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. p. 44.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 17, p. 44.
  • Michael Vickers. Metrological Reflections: Attic, Hellenistic, Parthian and Sasanian Gold and Silver Plate. vol. 24, no. 2 Paris. p. 180.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Near Eastern Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum