Height: 3.700 cm
Width: 10.600 cm
Room 52: Ancient Iran
Chlorite double bowl
From eastern Iran, around 2500 BC
This unusual vessel with two adjoining containers was the product of a major chlorite working industry in south-east Iran which traded as far west as Mesopotamia. The site of Tepe Yahya in southern Iran has evidence both for the manufacture and for the reworking of such carved chlorite vessels. Examples have been found over a wide area, from the Persian Gulf to Pakistan. They date from the third millennium BC. Nothing is known of what was transported in such pots, but luxury products of some sort are usually suggested.
These vessels were decorated with a variety of geometric patterns and representational scenes. Rarrely, paint was used to highlight the decoration, but the maker of this pot evidently relied on the textural effect caused by the carved decoration.
L. Al-Gailani Werr, 'Steatite stone vessels from Mesopotamia and elsewhere', Sumer, 31 (1975), pp. 41-48
P.L. Kohl, 'Carved chlorite vessels: a trade in finished commodities in the mid-third millenium', Expedition, 18 (Fall 1975)
J.E. Curtis (ed.), Early Mesopotamia and Iran: co (London, The British Museum Press, 1993)