Exhibitions/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Ewer with dancing females within arcades

Period:
Sasanian
Date:
ca. 6th–7th century A.D.
Geography:
Iran
Culture:
Sasanian
Medium:
Silver, mercury gilding
Dimensions:
H. of (a) 34 cm
Classification:
Metalwork-Vessels-Inscribed
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. C. Douglas Dillon Gift and Rogers Fund, 1967
Accession Number:
67.10a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 405
Late Sasanian silver vessels, particularly bottles and ewers, often were decorated with female figures holding a variety of festal objects. The appearance of these motifs attests to the continuing influence of Greek imagery associated with the wine god Dionysus. On this silver-gilt vessel, floral arches, supported by low pilasters, frame four dancing female figures. Each holds a ceremonial object in either hand: grape and leaf branches, a vessel, a heart-shaped flower. Beneath one arcade, birds peck at fruit, and beneath another a tiny panther drinks from a ewer. Both the females and their decorative motifs recall representations of the maenads, attendants of Dionysus. However, it has been suggested that these figures have been adapted to the cult of the Iranian goddess Anahita. No texts survive to explain the appearance or function of these female figures, but it seems likely that vessels decorated with motifs such as these would have been intended to hold wine for court celebrations or religious festivals.
Acquired by the Museum in 1967, purchased from Nuri Farhadi and Habib Anavian, New York.

“Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries: The Metropolitan Museum of Art,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 14, 1970–June 1, 1971.

“Patterns of Collecting: Selected Acquisitions 1965-1975,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.

“Wealth of the Roman World: Gold and Silver AD 300-700,” The British Museum, London, April 1–October 1, 1977.

“The Royal Hunter: Art of the Sasanian Empire,” Asia House Gallery, New York, The Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978.

“Weihrauch und Seide: Alte Kulturen an der Seidenstraße,” Palais Harrach, Vienna, January 21–April 14, 1996.

"Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, 7th–9th century," The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March 14–July 8, 2012.

Related Objects

Plate with a hunting scene from the tale of Bahram Gur and Azadeh

Date: ca. 5th century A.D. Medium: Silver, mercury gilding Accession: 1994.402 On view in:Gallery 405

Plate: the king Yazdgard I, slaying a stag

Date: ca. A.D. 399–420 Medium: Silver, mercury gilding Accession: 1970.6 On view in:Gallery 405

Head of a king

Date: ca. 4th century Medium: Silver, mercury gilding Accession: 65.126 On view in:Gallery 405

Rhyton terminating in the forepart of a wild cat

Date: ca. 1st century B.C. Medium: Silver, mercury gilding Accession: 1979.447 On view in:Gallery 405

Bowl with a male bust within a medallion

Date: ca. A.D. early 4th century Medium: Silver Accession: 55.57 On view in:Gallery 405