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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Elymaean Hellenistic Silver Bowl with Animals

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LOT 0037

GBP (£) 80,000 - 100,000
EUR (€) 93,000 - 116,250
USD ($) 112,210 - 140,260

Opening Bid
£72,000 (EUR 83,701; USD 100,986) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Elymaean Hellenistic Silver Bowl with Animals

2nd century AD

A sheet-silver bowl with splayed foot, the body with scenes of hunting animals on a mountainous background, one with a wolf hunting bulls, a palm tree in the field; the other with collared dogs hunting boars and deer, the scenes separated by trees and an altar, one an oak tree, the other a laden date palm; decorative border above and below; the underside of the bowl with an incised rosette pattern and an Elymaean variety of Aramaic inscription. 283 grams, 12cm diameter (4 3/4''). Very fine condition, small repairs.

Condition report [Click to show]

Property of a London collector; from her family's private collection; formerly with a London gallery; acquired in the 1990s; accompanied by copies of catalogue pages for a similar lot sold by Christie's and by an archaeological expertise by Dr Raffaele D’Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10308-168913.

See Wenke, R.J., ‘Elymeans, Parthians, and the Evolution of Empires in Southwestern Iran’ in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 101, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1981), pp. 303-315; Pfrommer, M., Metalwork from the Hellenized East, Catalogue of the Collections, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1993; Carter, M.L., Goldstein, S., Harper, P.O., Kawami, T.S., Meyers, P., Splendors of the Ancient East, Antiquities from the al-Sabah collection, London, 2013; Christie’s, London, Antiquities Thursday 25 October 2012, item 23 [£250,000.00-£350.00.00], for a very similar cup.

Elymais was a local, so-called Hellenistic dynasty in south-western Iran that flourished during the Seleucid and Arsakid periods, circa 188 BC to 222 AD. Elymais minted its own money, conducted its own public works programmes, and was in other ways apparently independent until circa 215 AD, when documentary evidence suggests that the Parthian imperial government was once again in control at Susa, the capital of the kingdom. The art produced in this period was a magnificent symbiosis of Iranian and Graeco-Roman art. Here we can see how the naturalistic style used to depict the ferocious predators and the other animals, (especially the collars around the dog's neck), is a continuation of Hellenistic arts. In this cup, of Parthian style, trained western artisans must have been employed by their philhellenic rulers and by the aristocracy to produce articles of luxury. The inscription on this cup likely records the presentation of the bowl by a donor of royal lineage, such as a princess of the local ruling dynasty.