Silver with parcel gilding; L. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)
Purchase, Arthur M. Sackler Gift, 1974 (1974.268.11)
Close ties between China, regions in northwest India, and Iran in the fifth and sixth centuries led to the introduction of vessels made of gold and silver, some of which were included in burials as marks of the privileged status of the deceased. By the late seventh century, Chinese craftsmen had mastered the repertory of shapes, designs, and techniques prized in the West and adapted them to native conventions. Shaped in the form of an artemisia leaf with a rolled tip, this rare dish is decorated with floral scrolls worked in repoussé. The scrolls end in leaves and blossoms or enclosed birds. Tang-period foliate dishes are found made of ceramics or bronze; however, this silver dish with parcel gilding is a unique example of the use of the form in precious metals.