Illustrated introduction to Mesopotamia, £8.99
Painted vessel with bridge-spout
Early Iron Age, about 1000-800 BC
Probably from Tepe Sialk, central Iran
This type of painted pottery is a local central Iranian variation of the Grey Ware typical of sites of this period in northern Iran. In the early centuries of the first millennium BC new forms of a type of pottery called Late Western Grey Ware emerged. This bridge-spouted vessel is typical. Similar jars with long spouts are known earlier, but now have the addition of a bridge between the rim and the spout. The popularity of bridge-spouted jars in pottery is probably a reflection of the widespread use of sheet-metal versions during this period in Iran.
They were used for poring liquids, possibly wine. The painted decoration on this vessel combines bold animal designs with a chequered panel that may be inspired by contemporary patterned textiles such as rugs. Sadly, however, organic materials such as cloth rarely survive from ancient periods in Iran.
J. Curtis, Ancient Persia-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)