Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Plaque with a bird of prey and winged beasts

Iron Age III
ca. 8th–7th century B.C.
Iran, said to be from Ziwiye
5.12 x 8.86 in. (13 x 22.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1986
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 400
This finely worked plaque decorated in the technique of repoussé is made up of a number of joining fragments. In the center a griffin bird is shown in flight, its body and wings depicted as seen from above. In its talons the bird grasps two creatures while below its beak is the head of a bearded man. A lion with its mouth open confronts the bird. Three bands showing composite creatures such as winged lions and bulls decorate the perimeter of the object. A guilloche pattern frames the whole object. Almost triangular in shape, this object, with curved sides, probably was originally attached to the shoulder of a garment and may have served as ceremonial armor.

In 1947 a treasure was reputedly found at a mound near the village of Ziwiye in northwestern Iran. Objects attributed to Ziwiye are stylistically similar to Assyrian art of the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. as well as to the art of contemporary Syria, Urartu, and Scythia. Many objects of gold, silver, bronze, ivory, and ceramic have since appeared on the antiquities market with the provenance of Ziwiye, although there is no way to verify this identification.
By 1961, collection of Dolores Selikowitz, New York (upper part only then known); by 1963, on loan by anonymous lender to the Museum (L.63.6); by 1965, the Pomerance collection, New York; from 1981, on loan by Michael and Bernard Pomerance to the Museum (L.1981.76); acquired by the Museum in 1986, purchased from Edward H. Merrin Gallery, New York.

“Assyrian and Persian Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March 25, 1955–January 22, 1956.

“Sept Mille Ans d’Art en Iran,” Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, Villa Hügel, Essen, Kunsthaus Zürich, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Palazzo Reale, Milan, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Denver Art Museum, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1961–1966.

“The Pomerance Collection of Ancient Art.” The Brooklyn Museum, New York, June 14, 1966–October 2, 1966.

“From the Lands of the Bible: Art and Artifacts.” America-Israel Culture House, New York, May 22, 1968–July 3, 1968.

“’Animal Style’ Art from East to West,” Asia House Gallery, New York, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 1970.

“The Golden Deer of Eurasia,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2000–2001.

Wilkinson, Charles K. 1955. “Assyrian and Persian Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 13, p. 220.

Sept Mille Ans d'art en Iran, exh. cat edited by Roman Ghirshman. Paris, Musée du Petit Palais, Octobre 1961- Janvier 1962, no. 500A, pl. XXXVII.

Wilkinson, Charles K. 1963. "Treasure from the Mannean Land." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 21 (8) (Apr., 1963), pp. 277-278, fig. 5.

Byvanck-Quarles van Ufford, Lili. 1964. "Points de repère pour la chronologie de l'art grec au 7eme siècle avant J.-C." Bulletin van de Vereening tot Bevordering der Kennis van de Antieke Beschaving te 'S-Gravenhage (JAARGANG) 39, p. 71, fig. 10.

Ghirshman, Roman. 1964. The Arts of Ancient Iran. New York: Golden Press, p. 312, fig. 378.

Terrace, Edward L.B. 1965. "Sumptuary Arts of Ancient Persia." Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts 63 (331), pp. 13-14, no. 7.

Terrace, Edward L.B. 1966. "Epaulette with Mythical Scenes." In The Pomerance collection of ancient art, exh. cat. Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, no. 53, pp. 46-47.

America-Israel Cultural Foundation. 1968. From the Lands of the Bible: Art and Artifacts, exh. cat. New York, no. 422, p. 123.

Bunker, Emma C., Chatwin, C. Bruce and Farkas, Ann R. 1970. "Animal Style" Art from East to West, exh. cat. New York: Asia Society, no. 14, p. 53.

Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art 116 (July 1, 1985 - June 30, 1986), p. 16.

Muscarella, Oscar. W. 1985-1986. "Plaque." Recent Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art) 1985-1986, pp. 4-5.

Aruz, Joan, Ann Farkas, Andrei Alekseev, and Elena Korolkova, eds. 2000. The Golden Deer of Eurasia: Scythian and Sarmatian Treasures from the Russian Steppes, exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 14-15, fig. 16.

Aruz, Joan, Ann Farkas, Andrei Alekseev, and Elena Korolkova eds. 2001. Oro: Il mistero dei Sarmati e Degli Sciti Mostra Promossa in Collaborazione con Museo Statale Ermitage, San Pietroburgo, Centro Studi Etnologici del Centro Scientifico di Ufa dell' Accademia delle Scienze Russa. exh. cat. Milan, New York: Electa, p. 156, fig. 61.
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