Plaque with a bird of prey and winged beasts


Not on view

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 1946 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.

Plaque with a bird of prey and winged beasts, Gold, Iran

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