Spouted vessel with gazelle protome

Historical period(s)
Achaemenid period, ca. 500-300 BCE
Earthenware and paint
H x W x D: 28.3 x 11.7 x 18.1 cm (11 1/8 x 4 5/8 x 7 1/8 in)
Iran or Turkey
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 21a: Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran
Ceramic, Vessel

Spouted vessel

Achaemenid period (ca. 550 - 331 BCE), earthenware, gazelle, Iran, Turkey, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

The drinking vessel with a protome (forepart) in the shape of an animal's head was a traditional form in ancient Iran. This example illustrates the combination of forming techniques that potters often used on a single vessel.  Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Materials Research and Education used a radiographic imaging technique called xeroradiography to examine the construction of this vessel.  They were able to determine that the beaker portion of the vessel was built using strips or coils of clay, whereas the animal's head was modeled by hand.

Published References
  • Klaus Tuchelt. Das Tiergefässe in Kopf- und Protomengestalt. Berlin. .
  • P.R.S. Moorey. Cemeteries of the First Millennium B.C. at Deve Hüyük, near Carchemish, Salvaged by T.E. Lawrence and C.L. Woolley in 1913. BAR (British Archaeological Reports) International Series, no. 87 Oxford. pp. 26-27.
  • Louise Allison Cort, Massumeh Farhad, Ann C. Gunter. Asian Traditions in Clay: The Hauge Gifts. Washington, 2000. p. 28, fig. 2.
  • Ann C. Gunter. The Art of Eating and Drinking in Ancient Iran. vol. 1, no. 2 New York. p. 39, fig. 22.
  • Ann C. Gunter. Ancient Iranian Drinking Vessles. vol. 18, no. 9 Hong Kong, September 1987. p. 41.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 16, p. 43.
  • Roman Ghirshman. Le rhyton en Iran (Notes Iranniennes 11). vol. 25. pp. 57-80.
  • Dr. Pamela Vandiver, Charles S. Tumosa. Xeroradiographic Imaging. vol. 99, no. 1 Boston. pp. 121-24, figs. 20-21.
  • John Curtis. Variatio Delectat: Iran und der Westen: Festschrift fuer Peter Calmeyer. Munster. pp. 193-213.
  • Peter Calmeyer. Bastam. 2 vols., Berlin. pp. 195-201.
  • Trudy S. Kawami. Ancient Iranian Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. New York, 1992. cat. 141, p. 222.
  • Klaus Parlasca. Ein hellenistisches Achat-Rhyton in China. vol. 37. pp. 280-90.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Near Eastern Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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