- Museum number
Silver gilt boss with a lion's head; this object was fastened by means of four equally spaced rivets through the rim but its original function remains uncertain; parts of hair, cheeks and upper lip mercury gilded; 4 rivet holes in the rim, one still containing round-headed rivet.
- Production date
- 4thC (possibly)
Diameter: 0.80 centimetres (rivet head)
Diameter: 0.50 centimetres (rivet holes)
Diameter: 16 centimetres
Height: 7 centimetres
Length: 2.30 centimetres (of rivet, including head)
Weight: 5.94 grammes
Thickness: 0.20 centimetres (at the rim)
- Curator's comments
- This object was examined by Dr Simon James in early 1990s who concluded that its earlier identification as a possible shield boss was dubious. Previously, Dr David Nicolle suggested that it may have been used by an elite cavalryman or senior officer, and drew attention to the silverwares known as the so-called "David Plates" which are believed to have been made to celebrate Heraclius' victory over the Sasanians and which depict the Sasanian "Goliath" carrying a shield decorated with a lion head boss. XRF analysis of the silver composition published by Hughes & Hall (1979) gives a heavily debased result more characteristic of the hard solder than most typical Sasanian silver. A related but iconographically slightly different gilt-silver lion-head boss or phalera was loaned by one Mr Christos Bastis to an exhibition on "Sasanian Silver: Late Antique and Early Mediaeval Arts of Luxury From Iran" at The University of Michigan Museum of Art, August-September 1967 (p.129, no. 46). Other related examples of unknown provenance and uncertain date have passed through the London art market (Bonhams: 'Antiquities', Thursday 1 May 2008, London, p.91, lot 171; Bonhams: 'Antiquities', Wednesday 1 May 2013, p. 124, lot 185).
- On display (G52/dc7)
- Exhibition history
1996 17 Jan-14 Apr, Austria, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches museum, Weihrauch und Seide – geld und Luxus aus dem Antiken Orient
G52/IRAN/22/10, from official opening 17/11/95-Aug 2005.
G49/IRAN, case 22, no. 13, 16 Jun-23 Dec 1994.
1993 12 Feb-25 Apr, Belgium, Brussels, Musée Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Splendeur des Sassanides / Hofkunst Van des Sassanieden, no.45
Iranian Room [IR], case 20, no. 5, Jul 1975-ca 1990.
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number