Exhibitions/ Art Object

Oval bowl with grapevine scrolls inhabited by birds and animals

Period:
Sasanian
Date:
ca. 6th–7th century A.D.
Geography:
Iran
Culture:
Sasanian
Medium:
Silver, mercury gilding
Dimensions:
2.76 x 4.37 x 9.17 in. (7.01 x 11.1 x 23.29 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Vessels
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1959
Accession Number:
59.130.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 405
This oval bowl, made from a single piece of hammered silver, is an example of one of the new vessel forms popular during the second half of the Sasanian period (A.D. 224-651): the shape is typical for wine drinking and most likely derives from Chinese prototypes. The background of the bowl’s exterior was carved out and then gilded, leaving the silver decoration in high relief. Tendrils of vine scrolls, one of the most popular motifs in Sasanian art, are arranged symmetrically along with grape clusters, lotus palmettes, birds and animals. The bearded dancing figure in the center most likely represents Silenos, leader of the satyrs, who along with the grapes and vines, attests to the continuing popularity of imagery associated with the Greek god Dionysos. The cup’s interior features a bird (probably a cock) holding a leaf in its beak, surrounded by bosses created by punching from the exterior surface.
Acquired by the Museum in 1959, purchased from Khalil Rabenou, New York.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department,” MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan, The Aiche Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya, Japan, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, 1983.

“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.

“The Nature of Islamic Ornament, Part II: Vegetal Patterns.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 10, 1998–January 10, 1999.

“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.

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

Wilkinson, Charles K. 1960. "The First Millennium B.C." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 18, Art of the Ancient Near East, p. 267, fig. 32.

Tasyürek, O.A. 1976. "Urartian Figurines and Metal," Turkish Review of Archaeology 23, pp. 108, 114, 115.

Harper, Prudence Oliver. 1978. The Royal Hunter: Art of the Sasanian Empire, exh. cat. New York: The Asia Society, p. 46, no. 10.

Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1983. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 91.

Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, no. 4.

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. 229, no. 80.

Harper, Prudence O. 2006. “Coupe en Forme de Nacelle Décor de Pampres de Vigne.” In Les Perses Sassanides: Fastes D’un Empire Oublié, 224-642, exh. cat. edited by Franҫoise Demange. Paris: Paris Musées, no. 40, pp. 102-103.

Valtz Fino, E. 2012. "Bowl with Inhabited Vine Scroll." Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, 7th–9th century, exh. cat. edited by Helen C. Evans and Brandie Ratliff. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press, no. 19, p. 30.
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

Elliptical bowl

Date: ca. 6th century A.D. Medium: Silver, mercury gilding Accession: 67.201 On view in:Gallery 405

Hemispherical bowl with scenes of wine making

Date: ca. 6th–7th century A.D. Medium: Silver, mercury gilding Accession: 1970.7 On view in:Gallery 405

Sword and scabbard

Date: ca. 7th century A.D. Medium: Blade: iron; scabbard and hilt: gold over wood, garnets, glass-paste; guard: gilt-bronze Accession: 65.28a, b On view in:Gallery 405

Bowl with wheel-cut facets

Date: ca. 6th–7th century A.D. Medium: Glass; yellow-green Accession: 59.34 On view in:Gallery 405