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Home > Auctions > 2nd June 2020 > Western Asiatic South Arabian Gilt Silver Epigraphic Bowl

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LOT 0319

GBP (£) 18,000 - 24,000
EUR (€) 20,220 - 26,960
USD ($) 22,680 - 30,240

£18,000 (EUR 20,218; USD 22,678) (+bp*)

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Western Asiatic South Arabian Gilt Silver Epigraphic Bowl

2nd-3rd century AD

A sheet silver bowl with repoussé scale detailing to the sidewall, tondo gilded to the underside with an image of a bird of prey perching with splayed wings; decorative parcel-gilt band below the rim with original Sabean text, expunged and later reworked to read 'Hari-yada'at and Halkum and their children, of [the family] Hasbach; and Dhakhar-il and Namamat'. 170 grams, 16cm (6 1/4"). Very fine condition. An extremely rare high status example.

From a private UK collection; acquired from Christie's, New York, 10 December 2004, Lot 419 [Bought for $33,460.00]; formerly in a private collection formed in the 1950s-1960s; accompanied by a copy of the relevant Christie's catalogue pages; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by IADAA certificate number no.15012020/17:57.
Cf. Simpson, S., Queen of Sheba. Treasures from Ancient Yemen, London, 2002, item 306, for similar gilt epigraphic band below the rim; see Curtis, J. and Tallis, N., Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia, The British Museum, London, 2006, p.105, for comparable items.
The bowl is similar in size and shape to examples of libation bowls, to bowls and dishes used as luxury tableware at royal (and other high status) tables for food and drink, and even vessels used for medicinal purposes. Sabaean is one of the old South Arabian languages, spoken by the people of the kingdom of Saba, the biblical land of Sheba.