Silver bowl

Achaemenid, 5th century BC

A silver bowl with applied figures

This silver bowl is decorated with hammered petals or lobes on the underside which alternate with heads and winged lions in applied silver cutouts. The heads resemble that of the Egyptian god Bes, a popular apotropaic figure (a figure warding off evil) in the Achaemenid period. Bes appears on metalwork, seals and amulet pendants.

The bowl comes from a time when elaborate vessels in precious metal were particularly widespread. Because of its great size a wide variety of styles and forms in art existed thoughout the Achaemenid empire. Nonetheless, elements were drawn together from various cultures to create an artistic style that was distinctly Achaemenid. This was perhaps promoted outside Iran by satraps (provincial governors) and other representatives of the Persian court.

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Silver bowl

  • Interior of bowl

    Interior of bowl


More information


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

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


Diameter: 17.300 cm
Height: 3.300 cm
Capacity: 400.000 ml

Museum number

ME 135571



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