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Home > Auctions > 21st November 2017 > Western Asiatic Pre-Achaemenid Phiale Mesomphalos for Unsak, King of Samati

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LOT 0567

Sold for (Inc. bp): £22,320

8 3/4" (565 grams, 22.5cm).

A silver lotus bowl with fluted underside and chamfered rim, central boss with raised image of a feline curled with the forelegs and hindlegs opposed; accompanied by an original inked translation page, and a copy of a scholarly note, typed and signed by W.G. Lambert, late Professor of Assyriology, University of Birmingham, 1970-1993, which states: "Ancient Iranian Silver Vessel, 23cm diameter at rim, 5.7cm [corrected from 7.4] high. On the base of this vessel, on the outside, there is a central dot surrounded by a rough circle of scallops done in double incised lines. Beyond this, around the belly of the vessel, are 12 [corrected from '11'] gadroons, hammered out , and between them 'stalks' rising and becoming opening buds with chased decoration at the top of this area of the vessel. On the outer rim there are three bands of incised lines. Inside the vessel in the middle there is a handle fixed, formed of a knob of massive silver, the top decorated with a lion, whose body curls around so that the head if [sic, for 'is'] close to the tail. On the inner rim there is an inscription in Neo-Elamite cuneiform: ͫun-sa-ak sunki sa-ma-tur-ra šak zi-ut-ti-ia-áš-na Unsak, king of Samatí, son of Ziyuttiyash. The name of this king occur, [sic] but of a private person, in the Persepolis Treasury tablets. But this king is unknown to history so far, as is the name of his country, Samati [corrected from Samaturra]. His father's name begins with the element Ziyut-, which is known in other names and is thought to be Median. Thus it is possible that this vessel comes from the same area of the Median of the time. As to date, between c. 900 and 700 B.C. is reasonably assured. This vessel is in very good state of preservation, and is a important object for the history of pre-Achaemenid Persian art, and for the history of 1st millennium B.C. Iran'; also with further translation notes from an American scholar which state that the transliteration should read: 'Unsak, Samatian King, son of Gittiyash...'.

Property of a London gentleman; part of his family collection since the 1970s; accompanied by a copy of positive metallurgic analytical results, written by metallurgist Dr. Peter Northover (formerly of the Department of Materials, Materials Science-Based Archaeology Group & Department of Materials, University of Oxford), report number R1183; and X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate number 00914-2017WB.

Cf. Mahboubian, H. The Art History of the Medes, Tehran, 1978, p.54; and Mahboubian, H. Treasures of the Mountains, The Art of the Medes, London, 1995, p.66.