- Museum number
Horizontally-fluted silver pyxis: hammered sheet; plain flat bottom with centre point on the underside with two lightly chased concentric circles; horizontally fluted sides; separate flat lid, held in place with a vertical pin; on the underside of the lid is a lightly incised scene, possibly in Greco-Persian style, of a standing man holding a composite bow in his left hand and a flower in his right, and wearing a long coat with furred border, pendant sleeves, trousers, boots and a hood, his projecting left arm shows the striped or pleated sleeve of his tunic, facing a woman wearing an upper garment with pendant sleeves and a long skirt; her feet appear to be bare; her hair hangs down her back and she wears loop earrings, with both of her hands raised, the right being empty but the left holding a flower.
- Production date
- 5thC BC (about)
Diameter: 0.40 centimetres (hole for pin)
Diameter: 6.40 centimetres (inner concentric circle on the underside)
Diameter: 9.40 centimetres (outer concentric circle on the underside)
Diameter: 13 centimetres
Height: 4.20 centimetres (pyxis only)
Length: 5.30 centimetres (pin)
Weight: 194 grammes (lid and pin)
Weight: 252.50 grammes (pyxis)
- Curator's comments
- Iconography on the underside of the lid compared to that found on Greco-Persian seals, supporting a Western Achaemenid circulation for this piece. Sparkes (1970) is the first scholar to compare this in print with a unique Attic ceramic imitation which was excavated at the Agora in Athens and independently dated to the last quarter of the 5th century BC.
- Bibliographic references
Dalton 1964a / The treasure of the Oxus with other examples of early oriental metal-work (pp. 43-44, figs 19, 71, cat. no. 179)
Von der Osten H H 1956a / Die Welt der Perser (pl. 72)
Miller M C 1993a / Adoption and Adaption of Achaemenid Metalware Forms (pp. 122, 143, taf. 24:3)
Goldman B 1991a / Women's Robes: The Achaemenian Era (p. 91, fig. 4) (brief discussion)
Sparkes B A 1970a / Black and Plain Pottery of the 6th, 5th and 4th Centuries BC (p.176, n. 32)
Miller M C 1997a / Athens and Persia in the fifth century BC. A study in cultural receptivity (p.140, n. 32)
Calmeyer 1980a / Textual Sources for the Interpretation of Achaemenian Palace Decorations (p. 61) (illustration and comments)
Curtis & Tallis 2005 / Forgotten Empire: The world of Ancient Persia (cat. 151, p. 131)
Hughes M J 1984a / Analyses of silver objects in the British Museum
Summers G 1993a / Archaeological evidence for the Achaemenid period in eastern Turkey (p.96)
- On display (G52/dc3)
- Exhibition history
2018 May-Sep, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Museum of History, An Age of Luxury
2006 7 Mar-11 Jun, Barcelona, Fundacion La Caixa, 'L'imperi Oblidat'
2005-2006 Sept-Jan, London, BM, 'Forgotten Empire'
G49/IRAN, case 7, no. 9, 16 Jun-23 Dec 1994.
Iranian Room [IR] case 10, no. 5, Jul 1975-ca 1990.
Persian Landing [PL] at top of West Stairs, case 2.
Persian Room, wall-case [WC] 15, shelf 3.
- Missing the bosses on the lid; slight tear to the rim of the pyxis. Wrongly numbered 123285.
NB The underside of the box lid should not to be cleaned as the incised decoration is so lightly incised.
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number