Exhibitions/ Art Object

Wall panel with a charging bear

Period:
Sasanian
Date:
ca. 6th century A.D.
Geography:
Mesopotamia, Ctesiphon
Culture:
Sasanian
Medium:
Stucco
Dimensions:
H. 11 5/8 x W. 15 in. (29.5 x 38.1 cm)
Classification:
Stucco-Reliefs
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1932
Accession Number:
32.150.23
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 405
Animal motifs are frequent in the mold-made stucco wall panels that decorated the palaces and houses of the Sasanian elite. This panel is from the east iwan (vaulted hall) of a large house at Umm ez-Za’tir, a mound east of the Taq-i Kisra palace at Ctesiphon in Iraq. The scene features a bear charging through trees within a rocky mountainous landscape: the choice of animal may allude to the mountains of the North which surround Mesopotamia, or could simply represent the game of an elite hunter. Allusions to the hunt, a pastime of courtiers, dignitaries and rulers, were popular in the Sasanian iconographic repertoire in various media. An identical panel is in Berlin in the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. A comparable panel in the Metropolitan depicts a boar charging through reeds (32.150.22).
1931–32, excavated by the Joint Expedition of the Staatliche Museen of Berlin and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; acquired by the Museum in 1932, ceded in the division of finds.

“Splendeur des Sassanides: L’Empire Perse Entre Rome et la Chine (224-642).” Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, February 12, 1993–April 25, 1993.

“Les Perses Sassanides: Fastes D’Un Empire Oublié, 224-642,” Musée Cernuschi, Paris, September 15, 2006–December 30, 2006.

“Glass, Gilding, and Grand Design: Art of Sasanian Iran (224-642),” Asia Society, New York, February 14, 2007–May 20, 2007.

Crawford, Vaughn E., Prudence Oliver Harper, Oscar White Muscarella, and Beatrice Bodenstein. 1966. Ancient Near Eastern Art: Guide to the Collections. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 36, fig. 56.

Herrmann, Georgina. 1977. The Iranian Revival (The Making of the Past). New York: Elsevier-Phaidon, p. 111.

Kröger, Jens. 1982. Sasanidischer Stuckdekor. Baghdader Forschungen Band 5. Mainz: Philip von Zabern, pp. 60-61, no. 59, fig. 27, pl. 17/2.

Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire. 1993. Splendeur des Sassanides: l'Empire Perse Entre Rome et la Chine (224-642), exh. cat. Brussels: Crédit Communal, p. 146, no. 4.

Harper, Prudence O. 2006. “Plaque. Ours Chargeant.” In Les Perses Sassanides: Fastes D’un Empire Oublié, 224-642, exh. cat. edited by Franҫoise Demange. Paris: Paris Musées, no. 11, pp. 57-58.

Rakic, Yelena ed. 2010. Discovering the Art of the Ancient Near East: Archaeological Excavations Supported by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931–2010. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (1), Summer 2010, p. 15.
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