Painted bowl

Sialk III period, about 4000 BC
From Tall-i-Bakun, southern Iran

Prehistoric Iranian bowl

This bowl was excavated by E. Herzfield at the prehistoric site of Tall-i Bakun, a short distance south of the later site of Persepolis. Unlike slightly later pottery manufactured at Susa in south-western Iran, the local ceramic tradition was dominated by bowls with designs painted on the exterior. Motifs included bold spirals and heavily schematic figural designs such as human figures with bird-like heads. These are typical of the Sialk III period, which was contemporary with the Ubaid and Early Uruk cultures of Mesopotamia to the west. This period witnessed a high point in the development of prehistoric Iranian painted pottery. Later on mass-production of pottery resulted in a decline in painted decoration.

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More information


J. Curtis, Ancient Persia-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

E. Herzfeld, Iran in the Ancient East (Oxford University Press, 1941)

D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


Diameter: 27.000 cm (rim)
Diameter: 27.000 cm (rim)
Height: 15.800 cm

Museum number

ME 128622



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