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Home > Auctions > 21st November 2017 > Western Asiatic Sassanian Gilt Footed Bowl with King Hunting Onagers

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LOT 0566

Estimate
GBP (£) 25,000 - 35,000
EUR (€) 29,600 - 41,440
USD ($) 31,920 - 44,680


WESTERN ASIATIC SASSANIAN GILT FOOTED BOWL WITH KING HUNTING ONAGERS
7TH CENTURY AD
8 3/4" (526 grams, 22.5cm).

A shallow silver dish with thick basal ring, rounded gilt rim; chased design depicting a mounted king with crown drawing a bow, pursuing a fleeing onager with a second beast pierced by an arrow beneath the king's mount; details of the king's costume and horse's trappings gilded, as also parts of the onagers; the bow of recurved type with the string indicated by a broken line; the saddlecloth with diaper and annulet detailing, the quiver with a running tendril and roundels (grapevine with bunches of grapes?); the horse's tail tied off, the bridle indicated by a broken line with roundel pendants.

PROVENANCE:
Property of a London gentleman; this piece previously on loan to the National Museum of Japan; part of his family collection since the late 1970s; accompanied by a report of metallurgic analytical results, written by Pieter Meyers of Los Angeles, California, dated 1 January 2011.

LITERATURE:
Cf. Harper, P.O. & Meyers, P. Silver Vessels of the Sasanian Period, New York, 1981, plate X for similar hunting scene.

FOOTNOTES:
The king as hunter had become a standard royal image on silver plates during the reign of Shapur II (310-379 AD). The theme, symbolising the prowess of Sassanian rulers, was used to decorate these royal plates, which were often sent as gifts to neighboring courts. The king has various royal attributes: a crown and fillet, covered globe, nimbus with beaded border, and beaded chest halter with fluttering ribbons.

Sassanian silver bowls were usually hammered into shape and then decorated in various complex techniques.The vessel was gilded using an amalgam of mercury and gold, which could be painted onto the surface, and niello—a metallic alloy of sulfur and silver—was inlaid. The result is a vessel of varied surface contours and colours.

CONDITION