Explore highlights
Painted bowl


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

ME 128622

Room 51: Europe 10,000-800 BC

    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.

    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)


    Browse or search over 4,000 highlights from the Museum collection

    On display: Room 51: Europe 10,000-800 BC

    Shop Online

    Illustrated introduction to Ancient Persia, £8.99

    Illustrated introduction to Ancient Persia, £8.99