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Home > Auctions > 24th November 2020 > Western Asiatic Sassanian Silver-Gilt Wild Boar Vessel

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LOT 0270

GBP (£) 40,000 - 60,000
EUR (€) 44,050 - 66,080
USD ($) 51,890 - 77,830

Opening Bid
£40,000 (EUR 44,053; USD 51,885) (+bp*)

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Western Asiatic Sassanian Silver-Gilt Wild Boar Vessel

5th century AD

A gilt silver vessel formed as a standing wild boar with exaggerated muscular legs and chest with a bulging gut; detailed facial features including large snout, curled tusks, alert eyes with heavy eyelids, erect ears, the animal's mane running around its face and along its head and back, reaching a tightly-curled tail and detailed buttocks, cheeks highlighted with gilding and a series of small circles, repeated on the underbelly; an oval vessel mouth emerges from the mane, while the spout is formed as a pierced gilt stud at the centre of the boar's chest. 880 grams, 15cm (6"). Fine condition.

Property of a London gentleman; previously with an important central London gallery; formerly in the Khatibi family collection formed before 1970; accompanied by a copy of the original purchase invoice dated 15 October 1986 ($45,000) and two old museum-quality photographs; accompanied by an academic report 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.10158-165299.
See Harper and Meyers, Silver Vessels of the Sassanian Period, Volume I, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981, for discussion and examples of wild boar on other vessels; 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; Ebbinghaus, S., Feasting with gods, heroes, and kings, Cambridge, 2019.
The style of the animal's head, the mouth, the ears and the massive body suggest that the object was manufactured in an Eastern Sassanian workshop. The image of the boar was diffused in the Persian iconography and royal imagery. A horn-shaped rhyton found at Kish in Mesopotamia features a boar head (Ebbinghaus, 2019, p.328) while various hunting scenes represent the Sassanian Shahanshah (King of the Kings) and local rulers hunting the wild boar (Harper, Meyers, 1981, pls.X,XIV,15,20; Carter, Goldstein, Harper, Kawami, Meyers, 2013, pp.172-173). Most famous is the boar hunting scene on the Taq-e-Bostan reliefs.