Sasanian gilt silver bowl
Sasanian partial gilt silver bowl
Silver with a percentage of copper. Partial thin gold coating.
6th to 7th century AD.
period of Sasanian rule,
Bowl of oval shape with a round bottom and almost lipless rim. The inside is elaborately decorated in low relief, showing faces, birds, and a rich ornament of grapes and other floral decoration. A partial gilt highlights two stripes and three areas of decoration inside of the bowl. A very nice piece of art.
The Sasanian silver wares are a favourite in today's collections. They exemplify the imagery and skill employed by Sasanian artists. Plates such as this were hammered into shape and then gilded.
The Sassanids became the dominant power in the Near East after their conquest against the Parthians in 220 AD and remained so until the Arab conquest in 642 AD, or politically until the death of the last King Yazdegerd III in 651 AD. This second Persian empire spanned much of modern-day Iran and Iraq, expanding its cultural and economic influence throughout the Near East. The religion of the Sassanids was Zoroastrianism, which is based on the teachings of Zarathustra (Greek spelling Zoroaster). This is still reflected today in a variety of ways in the surviving artefacts.
15.9cm to 13.7cm diamter. 3.8cm to 4.8cm height.
Great overall impression. The decorations on the inside are wonderfully preserved and easily recognizable. Colourful encrustations under the silver and gold indicate a copper content in the silver alloy, probably a bit more than 10%. The outside is optically dominated by this beautiful multicolored patina. A crack runs from the edge of the bowl to the middle, another crack runs halfway. Otherwise the bowl is intact.
Acquired by us in 2022 on the US American art market. Previously in the US American private collection of I. Kashanian. Imported from Iran to the USA in 1969. Acquired previously in Iran.
The bowl was offered by Sotheby's New York in their 11 June 2010 auction "Antiquities", lot 50. It was estimated at 10,000 USD to 15,000 USD, equivalent to 14,000 EUR to 21,000 EUR at the time, and remained unsold.
For other examples of Sasanian silver-gilt bowls see K. Erdmann, Die Kunst Irans zur Zeit der Sasaniden, nos. 59 to 75, e.g. no. 74 for a piece with a bird decoration.
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