The Sasanian houses at Ma’aridh in the Ctesiphon area were decorated with stucco reliefs of dancers, animals and foliage. This fragment depicts a bird in flight with the wing extending back from the body. The bird would have been part of a larger scene covering a wall or archway.
The city of Ctesiphon was located on the east bank of the Tigris River, 20 miles (32 km) south of modern Baghdad in Iraq. It flourished for more than 800 years as the capital of the Parthians and the Sasanians, the last two dynasties to rule the ancient Near East before the Islamic conquest in the seventh century. Systematic excavations in the Ctesiphon area were undertaken by an expedition in 1928–29 sponsored by the German Oriental Society (Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft). The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Staatliche Museen, Berlin, undertook a joint expedition for one season in 1931–32. Several excavations were conducted, including at the main palace (Taq-i Kisra), in a small fortified area south of the palace at Tell Dheheb, at multiple houses at the mounds of Ma’aridh, and at additional houses at a small mound called Umm ez-Za’tir.
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.
Kröger, Jens. 1982. Sasanidischer Stuckdekor. Baghdader Forschungen Band 5. Mainz: Philip von Zabern, no. 116, pl. 33/2