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Winged Ibex Vessel Handle

Winged Ibex Vessel Handle

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The fine detail on the body of this winged ibex, a hybrid creature depicted on the point of leaping, has been achieved by use of the lost-wax technique. The elegant wings and huge horns underline the energy of the animal's pose. Its back legs rest on a mask of Silenus, a figure associated with the cult of Dionysus and wine-drinking, alluding to the function of the metal vessel.

This handle in the form of a winged ibex would have belonged to a metal vessel, forming its principal decoration along with another ibex symmetrically placed opposite it. This costly vessel was in the form of an amphora with a fluted body, a common shape for this type of recipient, along with the cup and the rhyton. The ibex stands on its hind legs, its forelegs drawn in and its wings outspread, as though captured on the point of leaping. The head, presented in three-quarter view, is surmounted by very large ringed horns, and some anatomical details are picked out in gilt. The hind legs rest on the head of a bearded old man with long ears, coiffed with a row of palmettes. This resembles both the god Bes and the Greek Silenus, which according to Roman Ghirshman may indicate that the piece came from a Greek workshop. This type of vessel, highly prized by Iranian craftsmen, was also produced in distant provinces of the empire, after models imposed by the central authorities. Complete vases of this kind have been found: one example is now in a private collection in Paris, and another in the Tehran Museum.

Fond of rich gold jewelry set with precious stones, the Achaemenids also had a highly developed taste for precious metal vessels decorated with animals sculpted in the round. Evidence for this is provided by one of the friezes decorating the great audience hall (apanada) of King Xerxes (486-465 BC), showing the ceremonial presentation of gifts by the twenty-three provinces of the empire. Among the offerings are vessels of a traditional Iranian type, with handles embellished with animal heads. The king and his court would take these gold and silver pieces with them on military campaigns. This enthusiasm for precious metal vessels with sculptural decoration ensured that painted ceramics were relegated to a position of secondary importance.

Some points of comparison

Vessels with fluted bodies and handles in the form of animals are found among the ceramics of the late Assyrian Empire. Such zoomorphic decoration was a widespread feature of Iranian art. Symmetrical pairs of leaping animals, with forelegs drawn in and heads looking forward or to the side, made their appearance very early on, in the second millennium BC, especially in relief sculpture. The fluting, which is characteristic of Achaemenid metal vessels, had moreover already been employed in Iran on terracotta vessels such as those found at the necropolis of Tepe Giyan (second millennium BC).

Amandry Pierre, "La Toreutique achéménide", in Antike Kunst, n 2, 1959, Allemagne, pp. 38-56.
Benoit A., "Les civilisations du Proche-Orient ancien" in Manuels de l'Ecole du Louvre, Art et Archéologie, Paris, Ecole du Louvre, 2003, pp. 466-467, fig. 255.
Conan J., Deschesne O., Le bitume à Suse : collection du musée du Louvre, Paris, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1996, p. 323, fig. 393.

دسته گلدان بز کوهی یکی از آثار به جای مانده مربوط به دوران هخامنشیان است. جنس این عتیقه نقره با روکش طلا می‌باشد. در این اثر باستانی سم‌های بز کوهی بر روی ماسک موجودی اساطیری ترکیب شده از صورت انسان و شاخ بز قرار گرفته‌است. این موجود ترکیبی جهنده به روش ریخته گری ساخته شده‌است.

بال‌های زیبا و شاخ‌های این بز کوهی، سمبل سرزندگی و انرژی حیوان در هنر هخامنشی است. پاهای بز کوهی به ماسک موجودی اساطیری با نام سیلنوس (موجودی تلفیق شده از انسان و بز) ختم می‌گردد. این دسته گلدان مربوط به گلدانی فلزی بوده‌است.

Achaemenid Empire - Persian

A bronze statue of a Parthian nobleman
National Museum of Iran - Tehran

The Statue of Parthian Noble Man, National Museum of Iran is one of the main surviving works of Parthian art. It is currently in the National Museum of Iran and was found at Shami (modern Khūzestān Province), where there was an ancient sanctuary

Prehistory of Persia сейчас с Soumik Kr Dutta и Matin Shokrollahi.

A bronze statue of a Parthian nobleman
National Museum of Iran - Tehran

The Statue of Parthian Noble Man, National Museum of Iran is one of the main surviving works of Parthian art. It is currently in the National Museum of Iran and was found at Shami (modern Khūzestān Province), where there was an ancient sanctuary.

The bronze statue is 1.94 m high. The man depicted is shown frontally. The figure's head is slightly too small in relation to the rest of its body and the face has a plain, unmodelled surface with an aquiline nose. The man bears a short beard and a heavy moustache, while his hair is long and covers the ears. Around the head he wears a wide ribbon. He wears a tunic with a V-shaped opening at the front and wears trousers. Around the neck he wears a necklace, perhaps a metal ring. The right hand and the entire left arm are missing. In Shami, however, there was found a bronze arm which might belong to this statue.

It is possible that the head and the body of the figure were crafted separately and put together in Shami, as the head is too small and made from a different type of bronze as to the rest of the statue.

The high quality of the art work caused some speculations of its production place. while others suggest that it was made in Susa (the nearest bigger ancient city).

The statue was found by local peasants but must have originally adorned a sanctuary at Shami, where several Hellenistic bronze statues were found. The statue depicts a noblemen from the Parthian Empire.

The statue is hard to date. Scholars have proposed various datings ranging from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.

تندیس بزرگ‌زاده اشکانی یا مرد شمی یکی از اصلی‌ترین آثار باقیمانده از هنر اشکانیان است. جنس این تندیس از مفرغ توخالی است.

این تندیس در موزه ایران باستان نگهداری می‌شود. اغلب محققان بر این باورند که این تندیس منسوب به سورنا سردار مشهور پارت‌ها ست.

تندیس مرد شمی در سال ۱۳۱۲ه‍.ش در حوالی «کله چندار» روستای شمی از شهر ایذه، هنگامی که کارگران مشغول پی کنی برای ساخت و ساز بودند با پیکرهٔمفرغی بزرگی برخورد می‌کنند. این تندیس با شماره ۲۴۰۱ در موزه ملی ایران به ثبت رسیده‌است.

تندیس مرد شمی، ۱۹۴ سانتیمتر بلندی و پهنای آن ۶۰ سانتیمتر است و از مفرغ توخالی به شیوه ریخته‌گری ساخته شده‌است.آرایش موها و پوشش آن مانند سوارکاران است. بالاپوش یقه هفتی و شوار بر تن دارد و کمربندش با پلاک‌های فلزی آراسته شده‌است . دست راست این تندیس، بطور کامل و دست چپش از مچ به پایین از بین رفته‌است.

Achaemenid Empire - Persian

Paraw Kukherd- Hormozgan Province- IRAN
Persian Gulf region
The Paraw Kukherd are an archaeological site of Sassanid architecture.
Paraw Kukherdد‎ is a water management system used.
The Paraw Kukherd Qanat structures and ruins are located in the Kukherd District , in Hormozgan Province. They are under the administration of the city of kukherd In Bastak County

Prehistory of Persia

Paraw Kukherd- Hormozgan Province- IRAN
Persian Gulf region

The Paraw Kukherd are an archaeological site of Sassanid architecture.
Paraw Kukherdد‎ is a water management system used.

The Paraw Kukherd Qanat structures and ruins are located in the Kukherd District , in Hormozgan Province. They are under the administration of the city of kukherd In Bastak County.

Qanats are constructed as a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping tunnels. Qanats tap into subterranean water in a manner that efficiently delivers large quantities of water to the surface without need for pumping. The water drains relying on gravity, with the destination lower than the source, which is typically an upland aquifer. Qanats allow water to be transported over long distances in hot dry climates without losing a large proportion of the water to seepage and evaporation.

Impact of qanats on settlement patterns

A typical town or city in Iran and elsewhere where the qanat is used has more than one qanat. Fields and gardens are located both over the qanats a short distance before they emerge from the ground and after the surface outlet. Water from the qanats defines both the social regions in the city and the layout of the city.

The water is freshest, cleanest, and coolest in the upper reaches and more prosperous people live at the outlet or immediately upstream of the outlet. When the qanat is still below grade, the water is drawn to the surface via water wells or animal driven Persian wells. Private subterranean reservoirs could supply houses and buildings for domestic use and garden irrigation as well. Further, air flow from the qanat is used to cool an underground summer room (shabestan) found in many older houses and buildings.

پاراو کوخرد نام دورشته قنات است درغرب وشمال وجنوب دهستان کوخرد در بخش کوخرد شهرستان بستک در غرب استان هرمزگان واز نقاط دیدنی استان هرمزگان در جنوب ایران واقع شده‌است.

بقایا و آثار این قناتها هنوز باقی مانده‌است. ویکی از آثارهای دوران (ساسانیان) می‌باشد.قنات یا کاریز «در تلفظهای محلی گاه کهریز» نیز نامیده می‌شده‌است.

کانالی است که از دیر باز برای مدیریت آب در زمین می‌ساخته‌اند. کاریز یا قنات به رشته چاه که آب یک « مادر چاه عمیق» را برای شرب وکشت وکار به سطح زمین می‌رساند گفته می‌شود.

قنات پاراو کوخرد در زمان گبرها یا زرتشتیان که قبل از اسلام در شهر باستانی ساسانی «شهرسیبه» زندگی می‌کردند ایجاد شده‌است. و سیبه (نام قدیم کوخرد) بوده‌است.آثار یک رشته از این قناتها در (پشتخه مدی آباد) در جنوب رودخانه مهران نیز وجود دارد که به‌وسیله ترنه آب به آنها می‌رسیده‌است.

سر چشمه این قناتها از زیر کوه ناخ وتحدیداً از پشت دهستان هرنگ سر چمشه می‌گرفته‌است (که البته درآن دوران دهی بنام هرنگ وجود نداشته‌است).

این قناتها بعد از «چاه مادر» یا «بئر الأ م» که منبع اصلی آب آن است و در پایه کوه ناخ واقع بوده‌است به دو رشته می‌شده‌است.

رشته اول این قناتها از طرف مغرب کوخرد فعلی به دشت پاراو منتهی می‌شده‌است. اما رشته دوم از طرف مشرق دهستان کوخرد سرازیر می‌شده تا اینکه وصل می شده به ساختمان ترنه، این ساختمانها آب شیرین را از یک سوی رودخانه شور به سوی دیگر می‌بردند. دو قنات از این رشته قناتها در بغل خانه شاعرمعروف روزدار و از طرف قبله خانه اش تایاد من هم وجود داشته‌است.

Achaemenid Empire - Persian

Persepolis - UNESCO World Heritage
Fars(pars)Province, Iran -Near Shiraz City
6th century BC
Builder Darius I, Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I
Material Limestone, mud-brick, cedar wood
Founded 6th century BC
Periods Achaemenid Empire
Cultures Persian
Location Fars(pars)Province, Iran
Near Shiraz City

Prehistory of Persia

Persepolis - UNESCO World Heritage
Fars(pars)Province, Iran -Near Shiraz City
6th century BC
Builder Darius I, Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I
Material Limestone, mud-brick, cedar wood
Founded 6th century BC
Periods Achaemenid Empire
Cultures Persian
Location Fars(pars)Province, Iran
Near Shiraz City

Persepolis (,Pārsa) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC). It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.
The English word Persepolis is derived from Greek Persépolis (Περσέπολις), a compound of Pérsēs (Πέρσης) and pólis (πόλις), meaning "the Persian city" or "the City of the Persians".
Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. André Godard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I who built the terrace and the palaces.
Since, to judge from the inscriptions, the buildings of Persepolis commenced with Darius I, it was probably under this king, with whom the scepter passed to a new branch of the royal house, that Persepolis became the capital of Persia proper. As the residence of the rulers of the empire, however, a remote place in a difficult alpine region was far from convenient. The country's true capitals were Susa, Babylon and Ecbatana. This accounts for the fact that the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until Alexander took and plundered it.
Darius I's constructions at Persepolis was carried out parallel to those of the Palace of Susa. According to Gene R. Garthwaite, the Susa Palace served as Darius' model for Persepolis.
Darius I ordered the construction of the Apadana and the Council Hall (Tripylon or the "Triple Gate"), as well as the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings.
These were completed during the reign of his son, Xerxes I. Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid Empire.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Greek historian Ctesias mentioned that Darius I's grave was in a cliff face that could be reached with an apparatus of ropes.
Around 519 BC, construction of a broad stairway was begun. The stairway was initially planned to be the main entrance to the terrace 20 metres (66 feet) above the ground. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan Stairway, was built symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall.
The 111 steps measured 6.9 metres (23 feet) wide, with treads of 31 centimetres (12 inches) and rises of 10 centimetres (3.9 inches).
Originally, the steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback. New theories, however, suggest that the shallow risers allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascending. The top of the stairways led to a small yard in the north-eastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of All Nations.
Grey limestone was the main building material used at Persepolis. After natural rock had been leveled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time that construction of the towers began.
The uneven plan of the terrace, including the foundation, acted like a castle, whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus Siculus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide a protected space for the defense personnel.
The first wall was 7 metres (23 feet) tall, the second, 14 metres (46 feet) and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 metres (89 feet) in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times.
The function of Persepolis remains rather unclear. It was not one of the largest cities in Persia, let alone the rest of the empire, but appears to have been a grand ceremonial complex, that was only occupied seasonally it is still not entirely clear where the king's private quarters actually were. Most archaeologists until recent challenges held that it was especially used for celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, held at the spring equinox, and still an important annual festivity in modern Iran.
The Iranian nobility and the tributary parts of the empire came to present gifts to the king, as represented in the stairway reliefs.
تخت جمشید یا پارسه (یا پرسپولیس، پرسه‌پلیس، هزارستون، صدستون ) نام یکی از شهرهای باستانی ایران است که طی سالیان، پیوسته پایتخت باشکوه و تشریفاتی پادشاهی ایران در زمان امپراتوری هخامنشیان بوده‌است. در این شهر باستانی کاخی به نام تخت جمشید وجود دارد که در دوران زمامداری داریوش بزرگ، خشایارشا و اردشیر اول بنا شده‌است و به مدت حدود ۲۰۰ سال آباد بوده‌است. در نخستین روز سال نو گروه‌های زیادی از کشورهای گوناگون به نمایندگی از ساتراپی‌ها یا استانداری‌ها با پیشکش‌هایی متنوع در تخت جمشید جمع می‌شدند و هدایای خود را به شاه پیشکش می‌کردند.
در سال ۵۱۸ پیش از میلاد بنای تخت جمشید به عنوان پایتخت جدید هخامنشیان در پارسه آغاز گردید.
بنیان‌گذار تخت جمشید داریوش بزرگ بود، البته پس از او پسرش خشایارشا و نوه‌اش اردشیر یکم با افزودن بناهای دیگر، این مجموعه را گسترش دادند. بسیاری از آگاهی‌های موجود که در مورد پیشینهٔ هخامنشیان و فرهنگ آن‌ها در دسترس است به خاطر سنگ‌نبشته‌ها و گل نوشته‌هایی است که در این کاخ‌ها و بر روی دیواره‌ها و لوحه‌های آن حکاکی شده‌است.
سامنر برآورد کرده‌است که دشت تخت جمشید که شامل ۳۹ قرارگاه مسکونی بوده، در دورهٔ هخامنشیان ۴۳٬۶۰۰ نفر جمعیت داشته‌است.
باور تاریخ‌دانان بر این است که اسکندر مقدونی سردار یونانی در ۳۳۰ پیش از میلاد، به ایران حمله کرد و تخت جمشید را به آتش کشید.
و احتمالاً بخش عظیمی از کتاب‌ها، فرهنگ و هنر هخامنشی را با این کار نابود نمود. بااین‌حال ویرانه‌های این مکان هنوز هم برپا است و باستان‌شناسان از ویرانه‌های آن نشانه‌های آتش و هجوم را بر آن تأیید می‌کنند.
این نوشتار دربردارندهٔ نوشته‌ی‌ پارسی باستان است. اگر مرورگر یا رایانه‌تان تنظیم نشده باشد، به جای نویسه‌های خط میخی پارسی باستان، علامت سؤال، مستطیل و علائم دیگر نمایش داده می‌شوند.
این مکان تاریخی از سال ۱۹۷۹ یکی از آثار ثبت شدهٔ ایران در میراث جهانی یونسکو است.
پادشاهان ساسانی نیز کتیبه‌هایی در تخت جمشید در کاخ تچر بر جای گذاشته‌اند. پس از ورود اسلام به ایران نیز این مکان را محترم می‌شمردند و آن را هزار ستون یا چهل منار می‌گفتند و با شخصیت‌هایی همچون سلیمان نبی و جمشید ارتباطش می‌دادند. عضدالدوله دیلمی در تخت جمشید دو کتیبه به خط کوفی بر جای گذاشته‌است. همچنین کتیبه‌های دیگری هم به عربی و هم به فارسی در تخت جمشید وجود دارد که جدیدترین آن مربوط به دوره قاجار است این کتیبه به فرمان مظفرالدین شاه قاجار نوشته شده‌است که در دیوار شمالی کاخ تچر قرار دارد.
تخت جمشید در شمال شهرستان مرودشت، شمال استان فارس (شمال شرقی شیراز) جای دارد.
در فاصلهٔ ۶ و نیم کیلومتری از تخت جمشید نقش رستم قرار دارد. در نقش رستم، آرامگاه‌های شاهنشاهانی مانند داریوش بزرگ/ خشایارشا/ اردشیر یکم و داریوش دوم واقع است. علاوه بر نقش رستم دو آرامگاه به صورت کاملاً تمام شده و یک آرامگاه به صورت نیمه‌تمام در تخت جمشید موجود است.
آرامگاه‌هایی که در دامنهٔ کوه رحمت و مشرف به تخت جمشید واقع شده‌است متعلق به اردشیر دوم و اردشیر سوم می‌باشد. در جنوب تخت جمشید یک آرامگاه به صورت نیمه‌تمام رها شده‌است که بر اساس نظر بعضی از باستان شناسان، متعلق به داریوش سوم است.
جدا از سازندگان تخت جمشید که داریوش، خشایارشا و اردشیر یکم بودند، اردشیر سوم نیز تعمیراتی در تخت جمشید انجام داد. آرامگاه‌های اردشیر دوم و سوم در کوهپایهٔ شرقی تخت جمشید کنده شده‌است.

Ancient Egyptians were connected with nature in many ways. In the physical sense, the lush Nile Valley between two hostile deserts and the rhythm of the Nile with its annual flood contributed greatly to the fertility of the land.

Metaphorically speaking, countless murals in royal palaces and tombs depicted landscapes, gardens, and an array of animals and plants, indicating the natural world was revered by ancient Egyptians.

Hieroglyphic characters explain the natural living environment of Egypt during the time of the pharaohs. When analyzed, Egyptologists notice that many of these hieroglyphs have been taken from nature, such as the sun, flora, fauna, and peoples of the region.

The gods of Egypt ultimately sprang from an intensive observation of the natural environment. Many objects from the tomb of King Tutankhamun link directly to this close bond with nature. The Discovery of King Tut gives visitors a wide-reaching insight into this world. The back of the famous golden throne of the King, for example, is decorated with a lush papyrus plant. This is a reference to the mythical birth of the god Horus in the swamps of the Nile Delta. Horus is a sky god associated with Egyptian kingship who takes the form of a falcon.

Ancient Egyptians believed in resurrection after death. An illustrative example of this renewal of life is seen in the god Osiris. He is depicted as a human-shaped mummy on the north wall of the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun. What is striking is his dark green skin color. Many theorists believe his green skin tone refers to flora that can regenerate in mysterious ways within nature’s lifecycles.

The sun god Ra, much like the sky god Horus, takes the form of a falcon. To achieve immortality, the King intended to transform into Ra thus winged sun discs—a symbol of this god—are found at the entrances of the gilded shrines that encased the sarcophagi and mummy of Tutankhamun. Jewelry, such as a necklace in the form of falcon wings, was discovered among the objects in the bandages of the King’s mummy.

A particularly intimate bond between the ancient Egyptians and nature is revealed in the King’s cosmetic vessels, which were joyously crafted after natural archetypes. An ibex vessel was used for storing precious anointing oils. A scene is depicted on a cylindrical vessel in which a lion tears at a bull. A further reclining lion adorns the lid. The inscription on its body bears the name of Tutankhamun.

And then there are precious metals. Scientists today consider gold to be one of the most precious and valuable metals on the planet. For ancient Egyptians, it was much more than that. Due to its radiant glow, gold was thought to have the ability to light the underworld, explaining why so many objects from Tutankhamun’s burial treasure were coated in gold leaf.

As you can see, ancient Egyptians considered both the natural and supernatural worlds to be of utmost importance in their beliefs and culture.

The Discovery of King Tut recreates the moment of Howard Carter’s remarkable finding of the lost tomb of Tutankhamun. Utilizing more than 1,000 reproductions of the treasures discovered in the undisturbed tomb, the exhibition provides an unparalleled presentation not only of Carter’s experience of entering the burial chamber for the first time, but also of 18th dynasty Egyptian history. The objects, beautifully and scientifically reproduced by leading Egyptian artisans, provide the opportunity to experience the splendor of King Tutankhamun’s tomb without compromising the fragile originals, most of which are no longer permitted to be toured.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. This exhibition is on view through April 26.

Source: Dr. Wolfgang Wettengel, Scientific Director for The Discovery of King Tut.

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Weight: 451.08 g. H: 22.76 cm
Allegedly from the region of the Black Sea
Second/third quarter of the 5th century B.C.

The body of the vessel roughly shaped [1] by repeatedly hammering and annealing as it is raised [2] from a disc of silver sheet in a technique that is called raising or back raising [3] possibly on a wooden stake in a step-by-step operation followed by planishing to smooth out the ridges.

The lower part of the vessel is virtually brought to a finish with some of the outline of the design drawn out using a fine chasing tool. The decorative motifs detailed by repoussé and chasing, leaving at the lower section of the neck a ridge embellished with a tongue pattern. The upper part is then worked, the neck raised and planished to the finished shape.

The handles of silver sheet made in two halves by repoussé the horns and ears made separately and inserted in holes prepared for them. The two halves joined together and burnished, and soldered to the flaring mouth and shoulder of the vessel. A spout soldered on the back of one of the handles, made by forming a piece of silver like a plain gargoyle, the end with a thickened rim, most of the top covered with silver sheet cut to size and soldered on. At the join of this handle to shoulder of vessel, a hole enabled the liquid to flow through the spout.

Condition: a small section of the flaring mouth, bent outwards and cracked, restored to shape. Part of the lower body, between the base of the spout-handle and a hole, slightly crushed in and restored. Both handles reattached the one with the spout damaged and reshaped in part has a horn missing as well as a section of the right side of the ibex's head and neck. The surface of the vessel smooth with the odd patch of silver chloride.

The sources of Achaemenid art which under Cyrus the Great (559-529 B.C.) at Pasargadae shows a certain Greek and Ionian influence are ancient and varied. However it is under the prestigious reign of Darius (522-486 B.C.) that it acquired its "Court Style" [4] and formalism with its repertory of shapes. Achaemenid art may be considered his royal achievement. Foreign workers, craftsmen and artisans contributed to the artistic output and to the royal buildings: Egyptians, Syrians, Ionians, and in particular Carians are mentioned on the Persepolis Treasury tablets as being the silversmiths [5] P. Amandry says that to qualify an object as Achaemenid in keeping with a relative unity of style is far more a chronological assessment rather than a judgment on its place of origin.

There is for this amphora with zoomorphic handles and spout a most pertinent parallel, the vessel in Sofia [6] from the treasure of the Koukova Mogila tumulus (Duvanlij). It is identical for its shape, type of handles and decoration. The differences are in certain details, the handles are fantastic beasts with lion head and ibex horns, whereas here they are ibexes. Probably because the Duvanlij vessel is larger it has a double frieze of facing lotus flowers and palmettes separated by a guilloche, below these the vertical fluting. On the present example the only difference in this respect is that we have one frieze, the same as the upper one in Sofia, but with the guilloche here placed between the frieze and the fluting. Under both vessels there is a rosette, with twenty-seven petals at Duvanlij and twenty on ours. Certain gilt details on the Duvanlij amphora have been preserved, there are no traces of gilding on this example. There is no doubt that they must be from the same workshop [7].

The Schimmel silver rhyton with a ram protome in the Metropolitan Museum [8] has on the outside circumference of the cup's lip an identical frieze and guilloche although it is surely from a different workshop and the repetition of these two motifs is to be explained as part of the koine of Achaemenid art. There is a silver amphora handle of tubular form, flaring at its base [9], showing a winged bull as he looks back, of the same type as on the present examples, from a silversmith's hoard in Mesopotamia that belongs to a similar general type of production.

Both vessels, the Duvanlij and this amphora, are in spirit as in shape, decoration and style truly Persian [10] in character and are as N.K. Sandars has said "absolutely typical of the unlocalised Achaemenian court style" [11].

Pfrommer, M.: Ein achämenidisches Amphorenrhyton mit ägyptischem Dekor, AMI, 23, 1990, pp.191-209.

1 The firm of Plowden & Smith Ltd. has performed the conservation work on this amphora with its ibex handles. We are deeply indebted to Peter Smith and Peter Willett for discussing technical details and enlightening us with respect to the technology employed in the making of such vessels as this amphora and the rhyton, cat. no. 206.

2 In the initial stages a hollowed-out tree trunk may be used laying the silver sheet over the cavity and working it down.

3 Raising from top downwards to reduce size of bottom area.

4 Amandry, P.: Orfèvrerie achéménide, AntK 1, 1, 1958, p. 15 n. 52 quoting E. Herzfeld, Iran in the Ancient East (New York, 1941), pp. 247, 274.

6 Archaeological Museum 6.137: Fol, D.R.A.: Tesoros de las Tierras Bulgaras (San Fernando, 1988), no. 25, p. 64. This ensemble had been dated to the first half of the 5th century (Fol, D.R.A.: loc. cit.), the amphora to the second quarter by P. Amandry (Toreutique achéménide, AntK 2, 2, 1959, p. 40) and E.S.G. Robinson (A "silversmith's hoard" from Mesopotamia, Iraq XII, 1950, p. 48).

7 The author pointed this out to M. Pfrommer when he visited.
He seems to concur and writes ". ein anscheinend werkstattgleiches Exemplar. ". (AMI, 23, 1990, p. 193.)

8 New York, Metropolitan Museum 1989.281.30a,b (gift of the Norbert Schimmel Trust): Muscarella, O.W.: Gifts from the Norbert Schimmel Collection, BMetrMus, Spring 1992, pp. 16-17.

9 As with our example, and surely the Duvanlij amphora, to enable practical and aesthetic attachment to the shoulder of the vessel. Robinson, E.S.G.: op. cit., p. 44 ff., pl. XXIII.

10 Amandry, P.: op. cit. (footnote 6), p. 40 citing S. Casson, H. Luschey and P. Jacobsthal. The style of the frieze and palmettes has been considered Greek but it should not be forgotten that the Greeks adopted and made common use of these forms which they took from the Near East.

نشریۀ ایرانشناسی

استاد پورداود در ششم مهرماه ۱۳۲۴ خورشیدی « انجمن ایرانشناسی» را بنیان نهادند .

«نشریّه انجمن ایرانشناسی» زیر نظر ایشان و گروهی از شاگردانش منتشر می‌شد. شاگردانی که سالها بعد، همه از بزرگترین دانشمندان ایرانی در زمینه فرهنگ و زبانهای باستانی ایران در جهان بشمار می‌آیند. خوشبختانه میراثی که استاد پورداود از خود بیادگار گذاشته‌اند، جاودانه است. چه اینکه امروزه در سراسر ایران و جهان، بنیادها و انجمن‌های بسیاری زیر نام «ایرانشناسی» دایر و به پژوهشهای ایرانی می‌پردازند .

این صفحه به یاد استاد ابراهیم پورداود و دستآوردهای بی‌همتایش در تاریخ، دین، فرهنگ و زبانهای باستانی ایران نوشته می‌شود. همچنین بر آنست تا نام و یاد دانشمندان مطالعات ایرانی را بصورت پیوسته، یادآور شود و کتابها و مقالات سودمند و رویدادهای مرتبط در این زمینه را بدوستداران معرفی و پیشنهاد دهد .

باشد تلاشی که صورت می‌گیرد، موجب خوشنودی روانهای پاک همه دانشمندان و استادان شناخت فرهنگ این سرزمین شود.

Art of Ancient Iran

In previous essays we have mentioned Iran and some of its regions and ancient cities like Elam and Susa. The Elamite art is one of the oldest artistic cycles of Iran. This Elamite art included constructions and works of art created under the rule of a dynasty of local kings contemporary to the Kassite rule over Babylon between 1600 and 1000 BCE.

Bronze statue of Queen Napir-Asu (Louvre).

Although there is no ancient buildings in Susa from the Elamite period, sculptures do exist. These sculptures include the large bronze statue of queen Napir-Asu (14th century BCE). This statue of 1800 kilos is dressed with a bell-shaped skirt with fringed ends, carries a close-fitting tunic, and in her crossed hands one of the fingers bears a ring. Among the Elamite bronzes from the second half of the second millennium BCE it is also unique the bronze plaque known as Sit-Shamshi. With dimensions of ​​60 by 40 cm this plaque carefully represents a kind of a scale-model of a religious ceremony where two squatting naked men celebrate during sunrise. In addition to the officiators’ figures this piece includes a jar, two columns, and various ritualistic elements. Another piece from around 1000 BCE is an extraordinary terracotta head representing a man and found in Susa. The polychromy in black covers his eyebrows and the trimmed beard and mustache give him the appearance of someone important.

Bronze plaque known as Sit-Shamshi (Louvre), XII century BCE. Painted terracotta head found in Susa (Louvre), ca. first millennium BCE.

Winged Ibex (Louvre) in silver inlaid with gold. It used to be the handle of a large jar. The Greek influence is visible, especially in the Greek ornamental mask crowned by a palm leaf that support the hind legs of the animal. Ca. V century BCE.

Among the Iranian works of art produced in bronze, the artifacts from Luristan are worth mentioning: riding brakes, ceremonial axes, pots, banners, female hairpins. The proposed dates for the Luristan bronzes vary between 1500 and 800 BCE. The most characteristic of these bronzes are riding brakes and banners. The first are usually decorated with two figures of Ibex or mountain goats rigged with a cross bar and with rings that served to hold the reins. Arguably, the Ibex was the patronymic animal of Iran, as was the lion to Assyria, the dragon to Babylon, and the bull to Sumer. As for the banners or mast toppings there is usually a central character grasping with his hands the heads of two monsters that sometimes have lion jaws and some other times have a bird of prey beak. All these Luristan bronzes were cast with the technique we call now “lost-wax casting* .

Funerary idol in bronze (Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels), from Luristan. Ca. second or third millennium BCE.

The unexpected fall of Nineveh the year 612 BCE annihilated the power of Assyria focused exclusively on its capital. But the Eastern world could not live without a king. This new master, the Great King, lived in the high mountains of Iran enclosing Mesopotamia and extending south to the Indian Ocean. This new King came from one of the many ethnic groups that formed what we now call the Peoples of Ancient Iran (Persians, Kurds, Medes, Scythians, Bactrians, Parthians, Sarmatians, Alans, Ossetians, Cimerians, etc.).

The formation of the new Persian Achaemenid Empire happened fast and easy because Assyria had accustomed people to live in slavery. By then, Medes tribes had helped Scythians to loot and burn Nineveh and using the prestige gained they formed the first nucleus of a conquering State. Later the main Persian families strongly grouped around their first monarch Cyrus the Founder who subjugated their confederates (the Medes) and hence all Iran obeyed one head. Cyrus, the first Achaemenid, conquered Babylon in 539 BCE and the son of Cyrus, Cambyses, dominated Egypt in 525. The maritime states of Asian Greece also became Persian satrapies. The first two capitals of the new empire were Ecbatana and Pasagard.

Tomb of Cyrus in Pasagard.

Ecbatana was the original residence of the Mede kings and it was natural that Cyrus and his successors had the will to restore and inhabit the very capital of their former allies. Cyrus’ family was from Pasagard and there he and his son Cambyses also lived. The only remains of these early Persian kings’ palace are some half destroyed columns and a relief with the portrait of Cyrus that used to decorate a doorjamb. However, it is understood that its square floor plan must have had a portico* (or porch in a colonnade style) with columns on each side, the rooms were at the corners, and the reception hall was central as we will see later in the large buildings of Susa and Persepolis. In the same plain occupied by Pasagard stands the tomb of Cyrus, who died in 528 BCE, it is almost intact and displays the attempts of an eclectic and imperial Persian art. The mausoleum is a funerary promontory rising over a small stepped base. The burial chamber was only about three square meters and was covered by a flat roof that from the outside appeared as a pitched roof with two slopes giving the building a less oriental aspect and a more Greek look. The door was double and was artfully arranged so that no more than one person could get access to the tomb. The tomb was enclosed within a precinct with a portico from which few traces are left. This type of tomb had no imitations in Persian art, we’ll see later how Darius and his successors carved their royal tombs according to another completely new and original concept. The tomb of Cyrus had more to do with the typical funerary constructions from Lydia (a satrapy -or province- of the Achaemenid Persian Empire) and shows that even since the times of Cyrus, Persians had looked for artistic elements in the Greek provinces of Asia.

Floor plan of Persepolis.

Pasagard always remained as the holy city where the Persian kings went to be crowned, but its location in the mountains was not appropriate for the capital of the Empire, and Darius who reigned 35 years (from 521 to 485 BCE) moved his residence to the plain in the place the Greeks called Persepolis. Darius built in Persepolis no more than two or three buildings but his descendants were responsible to enrich it with such magnificence that the city was proverbial in ancient times.

The terrace occupied by the palaces of Persepolis is a vast plane that extends at the foot of a rock cliff. At the summit of this mountain are still the altars for the sacred fire, the cult of the Persians. They are the only religious monuments that remain from ancient Persia. The terrace of Persepolis can be reached by a stair with a double ramp decorated with reliefs . After a few steps on the embankment you can find the lavish and monumental Propylaea* or monumental gates adorned with two winged bulls, a traditional element of Assyrian decor that Persia tried to copy though giving them some Aryan character and not Semitic as they were originally for the Assyrians. These propylaea formed an open gate at each side acting as a corridor with four columns.

Gate of Xerxes in the Propylaea of Persepolis. The monumental gate or Propylaea gave access to the great hypostyle hall that still conserves 13 mutilated columns. These winged bulls were traditional elements of the Assyrian decor that Persia adopted, but giving them an unmistakable Aryan character. Idealized reconstruction of the hypostyle hall of Persepolis.

The other buildings were arranged on the terrace without obeying an overall plan: they were successive constructions built in different times. The first monument at the right of the propylaea is the Great Hypostyle Hall of Xerxes called apadana* which still have in place 13 mutilated columns, the largest remaining columns still standing in Persepolis. The apadana of Xerxes (485-465 BCE) is still today one of the largest halls that man has ever built. The total area it covers, including porticoes and colonnades, is over 1000 square meters and its height reaches 20 meters only counting for the height of the columns and their capitals. Its disposition was also extraordinarily original: the whole building was erected on a second base on the level of the terrace, vast galleries acted as the main front porch for the main facade and for two of the lateral walls, and in the middle there was a room full of columns with the typical Persian capital*.

Detail of the monumental staircase east of the Apadana at Persepolis (VI century BCE). The left side of this relief describes with perfect realism how a bull is surprisingly attacked by a lion. Columns of the Apadana of Darius and Xerxes in Persepolis. This audience hall or Apadana contained 72 columns with capitals adorned with lions and bulls.

Beside the hypostyle hall, there was another building called the Hall of the Hundred Columns. In its front facade a double gallery flanked by two winged bulls served as a porch for the building which included only a single room. Its flat roof rested on ten rows of columns. From the walls that enclosed its square precinct only the doors remain on place also a number of niches in the form of false windows decorated its inner walls.

Ruins of the Hall of the Hundred Columns in Persepolis.

On the terrace of Persepolis there are still remains of the royal palaces built by different kings. One of them is the first palace built by Darius in the new capital. The second palace was built by Xerxes in the southern corner of the terrace. Both had about the same floor plan of the palace of Cyrus in Pasagarda: a square precinct with a large hall with columns in the center and the rooms located on either side and the corners. The walls were generally built with brick and covered with ceramic decorations, only the doors and niches distributed inside the chambers were built with stone and decorated with figures and reliefs. The upper parts of the building were built with wood. It is interesting to see the Egyptian gorge over the doors of this palace. The eclecticism of the Persians is revealed in this collection of Assyrian elements like the building terraces, the winged bulls, the ceramic decoration, and also of an element so characteristic of the Egyptian construction as was this inverted molding.

Palace of Darius at Persepolis. The only elements of this palace that survived to present day are the stone doors topped with the inverted Egyptian gorge, a molding typical of the Egyptian art.

The Persian royal room or apadana was also in the ruins of the famous residence built in Susa where the Great King used to moved with his court during the winter season. Dominated by Chaldea and Assyria, Susa was occupied by Persians during their first expansion campaigns. Later, over the ancient ruins of the occupied Susa, Artaxerxes II (405-358 BCE) built his palace. The floor plan, as we have described, is the established for the Persian palaces although the primarily construction material used in Susa was brick. Just for the columns and capitals the sculptors of the apadana of Susa used limestone, everything else was constructed with glazed brick and from there came the most splendid examples of ancient glazed ceramics: the so-called “archers of Susa” or frieze of the “Immortals”. This building of Susa offers the curious circumstance of being more influenced by the neighboring Assyrian constructions: it was built with bricks, even the winged bulls of the doors were made ​​with glazed pieces. Only columns and capitals were in the Persian style as in Persepolis.

Detail of the Frieze with the Achaemenid royal archers also known as Frieze of the Immortals, from the palace of Artaxerxes in Susa (Louvre), ca. 405-359 BCE. It represents the archers of the Persian guard, with a bow on their left shoulder and a panther skin quiver on their backs, while holding with both hands a long pike with a silver leaf. Each archer is 1.47 meters height. Above, detail of the Frieze of the Lions from the Royal Palace of Susa (Louvre), in glazed ceramic. Below, detail of the Frieze of the Griffins (Louvre), also from Susa. These animal friezes were inspired by those decorating the Processional Avenue and the Ishtar Gate at Babylon.

The Persian column was much taller and slender than the Egyptian. Its bell-shaped base resembled a huge inverted flower. The shaft had ridges but more numerous than in the Greek column and on its top the capital included a highly original group of volutes combined with two fantastic bulls or unicorns which serve as brackets to hold the ceiling beams. The transverse ceiling beams were ingeniously supported within these two monsters in the space between their necks and their rumps. Persian palaces were characterized by the disposition of their wooden ceiling. Above the Bull-capitals rested a wooden lattice formed by coffers.

Structure of a Persian column. Persian columns of the Apadana of Darius and Xerxes in Persepolis. Capital from the columns of the palace of Artaxerxes II at Susa (Louvre). Each capital is 5.80 meters height.

The Persian royal tombs reflected an unprecedented architectural type. Except for the tomb of Cyrus in Pasagard all kings were buried in the royal necropolis of Naqsh-i-Rustam three kilometers away from Persepolis. The rocky surface was leveled in order to carve the facade of each grave with an immense relief in honor of the King who was buried there. The base of this facade was almost smooth, it was followed by a second wider band in which was represented a royal palace with its exterior colonnade and where the door opened for access to the burial chamber, and finally at the top there was a third band where the king was represented devoutly praying in front of the altar for the sacred fire worshiped by Persians. This third band of the relief is the most curious part of the monument because the king is standing on a sort of platform or throne and supported by a group of figures representing their various vassals chosen from among the nations of Asia. In contrast, inside the rock, Persians only excavated a simple camera with some graves in the ground destined to the corpses of all the royal family. The Persians continued to be a patriarchy and the king built one common grave for himself and all his family.

View of a Persian style tomb from the royal necropolis of Naqsh-i-Rustam.

The historical reliefs that decorate the terrace of Persepolis are imprinted with an almost international feeling. The tributaries arrive in orderly procession and seem satisfied, they don’t look like the defeated slaves bowed down by the weight of the pots, bags and metal ingots they are bearing to the Assyrian monarch. Much less, we find in Persepolis scenes of punishment, the terrible execution scenes that were the delight of the kings of Nineveh. Darius was a devotee of Ahura-Mazda and of the Zoroastrian religion. Ahura-Mazda, the active principle of light, goodness, truthfulness and purity, is usually depicted flying in the air above the Great King. His imagined physical form was also a synthesis of Egyptian, Assyrian, and Hellenic elements. In turn, the Persians were the first peoples that produced a national art by doi ng an imperial synthesis of the artistic styles of their time.

Xerxes on his throne receiving the homage of the tributary princes, relief from the palace of Xerxes in Persepolis.

*Lost-wax casting: A process by which a metal sculpture in silver, gold, brass or bronze is cast from a preexisting mold.

*Apadana: The Ancient Persian version of a large hypostyle hall.

*Capital: (From the Latin word caput, meaning “head”) The topmost element of a column. It is located between the column’s shaft and the load thrusting of the construction down upon it, thus broadening the area of the column’s supporting surface. The capital is usually the most ornate element of a column. The three principal types are the Doric order, the Corinthian order and the Ionic order. These form the three principal types of capital on which modern capitals are based.

*Propylaea: A monumental gate.

The Pure Vessel has a similar moveset to the Hollow Knight boss fight, albeit with different speeds and some changes and additions. They have the following abilities:

  • Soul Daggers: Pure Vessel moves to either side of the arena, faces the Knight, and raises their hand. The hand glows white while they summon seven daggers that shoot towards the Knight in straight lines along an arc. The daggers are summoned sequentially: the first one firing at an angle towards the floor, and the last one firing straight up.
  • Triple Slash: Pure Vessel slashes with their nail three times. Each slash of their nail moves them forward, covering about 1/3 of the arena in total. The slashes cover enough space that they can damage the Knight even if they are not directly in front of Pure Vessel.
  • Soul Pillars: Pure Vessel either leaps or teleports into the air above where the Knight was and then slams into the ground, causing pillars of Soul to jut up from the floor of the arena. These pillars are equally spaced, allowing some safety between them, and they span the entire arena.
  • Lunge: Pure Vessel draws their nail up and lunges along the ground towards the Knight. This lunge covers about 50% of the arena.
  • Parry: Pure Vessel takes up a defensive stance with their nail. If the Knight damages them after their nail shines, they take no damage from the hit and instead respond by shifting forward slightly and slashing with their nail.
  • Focus: Pure Vessel begins focusing Soul in a fashion similar to the Knight. However, unlike the Knight, Pure Vessel surrounds themself with a circular aura that eventually explodes. Shortly after, six smaller auras appear randomly throughout the arena. Then these smaller auras explode in rapid succession in the order in which they appeared. Pure Vessel begins another attack as the final small explosion occurs. They start using this attack when they reach 66% of max HP.
  • Void Tendrils: Pure Vessel opens their cloak, revealing several flailing void tendrils, including two larger ones. About three quarters of a second later, the two larger tendrils lash out across about 60% of the arena. The lashing continues for about three quarters of a second. They start using this attack when they reach 33% of max HP.
  • Jump: When the Knight remains off the ground for too long, Pure Vessel launches themself at the Knight's location, dealing contact damage.
  • Teleport: Pure Vessel teleports within the arena to prepare for an attack or dodge the Knight.
  • Backstep: Pure Vessel quickly backsteps away from the Knight if they get too close they then perform another attack.

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion - Pure Vessel

Pure Vessel's fight is a quick-paced fight. Pure Vessel chains attacks together without moving between them, backsteps between attacks, or teleport between attacks. It is recommended that players practice enough to recognize Pure Vessel's attacks quickly and be equally quick with their reactions.

Some options for handling the Triple Slash and Lunge attacks: jumping over it, shadow dashing through it, or casting Descending Dark. Jumping over the Triple Slash requires either a well-timed Nail bounce or double jump (thanks to Monarch Wings) to avoid the second slash. Once the Knight is past Pure Vessel, there can be an opportunity to damage them again before they attack again.

Once Pure Vessel is above the Knight for the Soul Pillars attack, getting out of the way is most important, which can even mean using Descending Dark. Then the Knight needs to put themself in between the Pillars, which can even mean Nail-bouncing on Pure Vessel. There is time to damage Pure Vessel while waiting for the Pillars to disappear.

The safest option when Pure Vessel gets into the Parry stance is to not attack them. Or the Knight can intentionally trigger the riposte and handle that.

When Pure Vessel prepares their Soul Daggers attack, there are telegraphed lines of travel showing the Knight the safe gaps between the Soul Daggers. The Knight can stay far away and cast Shade Soul or they can get in close and deal damage.

When Pure Vessel begins Focusing, the Knight can stay far away and cast Shade Soul, stay close and get in some quick Nail damage before the explosion, or time Descending Dark to avoid the explosion. The first aura becomes dangerous shortly after the rocks float. After the initial explosion, it is important to deal damage while remaining safe from the follow-up explosions, which deal damage when they flash.

For Void Tendrils, it is most important to get out of the way, whether that is getting out of range, getting above, or getting behind Pure Vessel. When out of range, casting Shade Soul is a good option. When above, Nail-bouncing on Pure Vessel and/or casting Descending Dark is viable. Once behind, the Knight can do whatever they want while the attack occurs.

The Abyss Shriek Spell is most viable when Pure Vessel is staggered due to how long it takes to cast. Even then, Pure Vessel could exit stagger into a Parry and Abyss Shriek could trigger the riposte, so be aware.

The safest time to heal is when Pure Vessel is staggered. Without Charms, the Knight can heal 1 Mask safely or maybe 2 if they start healing as soon as Pure Vessel is staggered. The Knight can heal 1 Mask at other times as well: during the Soul Pillars attack if they start healing before the Pillars form and Pure Vessel takes a moment before attacking again when Pure Vessel Focuses (or 2 Masks if a smaller explosion does not spawn on the the Knight) during the Soul Daggers attack if the Knight is already in a safe position during a Parry if the the Knight predicts it and when the Knight is out of range of the Void Tendrils attack.

Quick Focus helps but generally does not provide enough time to get another Mask during these no-Charm moments but does grant more time to safely react to Pure Vessel. The Knight can heal a third Mask when Pure Vessel is staggered. Adding Shape of Unn to Quick Focus grants the Knight enough maneuverability to safely heal 1 or more Masks during all of these moments.

NOTE: The Dream Nail does not work or have an effect against Pure Vessel and the Flukenest Charm only has an effect while Pure Vessel is in the air.


Lion head horn
MaterialSilver and Gold
SizeH. to rim (as it stands) 23.5 cm. (true, extended) l. 33 cm., rim diam. 10.9-11.2 cm, rim th. 2mm, lion head dimensions 5 x 3.7 x 4.4 cm, diam. at the junction of horn and head 3.6 cm, wt. 604.76 g.
Present locationPrivate collection of Vassil Bojkov, Sofia, Bulgaria

Liddell and Scott [2] give a standard derivation from Greek rhein, "to flow", which, according to Julius Pokorny, [3] is from Indo-European *sreu-, "flow". As rhutos is "stream", the neuter, rhuton, would be some sort of object associated with pouring, which is equivalent to English pourer. Many vessels considered rhytons featured a wide mouth at the top and a hole through a conical constriction at the bottom from which the fluid ran. The idea is that one scooped wine or water from a storage vessel or similar source, held it up, unstoppered the hole with one's thumb, and let the fluid run into the mouth (or onto the ground in libation) in the same way that wine is drunk from a wineskin today.

Smith points out [4] that this use is testified in classical paintings and accepts Athenaeus's etymology that it was named ἀπὸ τῆς ῥύσεως , "from the flowing". [5] Smith also categorized the name as having been a recent form (in classical times) of a vessel formerly called the keras, "horn", in the sense of a drinking horn. [6] The word rhyton is not present in what is known about Mycenaean Greek, the oldest form of Greek written in Linear B. However, the bull's head rhyton, of which many examples survive, is mentioned as ke-ra-a on tablet KN K 872, [7] an inventory of vessels at Knossos it is shown with the bull ideogram (*227 VAS also known as rhyton). Ventris and Chadwick restored the word as the adjective *kera(h)a, with a Mycenaean intervocalic h. [8]

Rhyta shaped after bulls are filled through the large opening and emptied through the secondary, smaller one. This means that two hands are required: one to close the secondary opening and one to fill the rhyton. This has led some scholars to believe that rhytons were typically filled with the help of two people or with the help of a chain or a rope that would be passed through a handle. Rhytons modeled after animals were designed to make it look like the animal was drinking when the vessel was being filled. [ citation needed ] A bull rhyton weighed about three kilograms when empty and up to six kilograms when full.

Other rhytons with animal themes were modeled after boars, lions, and lionesses (such as Lion head horn). Some shapes, such as lioness rhyta, could be filled through simple submersion, thanks to the vessel's shape and buoyancy. Horizontally designed rhyta, like those modeled after lionesses, could be filled by being lowered into a fluid and supported. Vertically designed rhyta, like those modeled after boars, required another hand to cover the primary opening and to prevent the liquid from spilling as the vessel was filled.

Rhyta were often used to strain liquids such as wine, beer, and oil. Some rhyta were used in blood rituals and animal sacrifice. In these cases, the blood may have been thinned with wine. Some vessels were modeled after the animal with which they were intended to be used during ritual, but this was not always the case. [9]

It cannot be proven that every drinking horn or libation vessel was pierced at the bottom, especially in the prehistoric phases of the form. The scoop function would have come first. Once the holes began, however, they invited zoomorphic interpretation and plastic decoration in the forms of animal heads—bovids, equines, cervids, and even canines—with the fluid pouring from the animals' mouths.

Rhyta occur among the remains of civilizations speaking different languages and language groups in and around the Near and Middle East, such as Persia, from the second millennium BC. They are often shaped like animals' heads or horns and can be very ornate and compounded with precious metals and stones. In Minoan Crete, silver-and-gold bulls' heads with round openings for the wine (permitting wine to pour from the bulls' mouths) seemed particularly common, for several have been recovered from the great palaces (Iraklion Archaeological Museum).

One of the oldest examples of the concept of an animal figure holding a long flat ended conical shaped vessel in hands was known to be discovered from Susa, In Southwestern Iran, in Proto Elamite era about 3rd millennium B.C., is a siver figurine of a cow with body of a sitting woman actually offering the vessel between both her bovine hoofs.

Rhytons were very common in ancient Persia, where they were called takuk (تکوک). After a Greek victory against Persia, much silver, gold, and other luxuries, including numerous rhytons, were brought to Athens. Persian rhytons were immediately imitated by Greek artists. [10] Not all rhyta were so valuable many were simply decorated conical cups in ceramic.

Handle from a vessel in the form of a jumping feline above an ibex head (fragment)

[1] See Original Bronze List, S.I. 81, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Maurice Nahman (C.L. Freer source) 1868-1948

  • Ann C. Gunter, Paul Jett. Ancient Iranian Metalwork in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Mainz, Germany, 1992. cat. 9, pp. 90-91.
  • Mehdi Bahrami. Courrier d'art de Teheran: Encensoir de bronze de l'epoque parthe. vol. 11, no. 4 Washington and Zurich. pp. 288-292.

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H: 19.1 cm
Provenance: no indication probably Persia
First half of the 4th century B.C.

Ex collection:
Archduke Ferdinand II, Count of the Tyrol [1] (died 1595)
Ambras Castle, Imperial collections down to the last Habsburg owner [2], Ferdinand Karl, Archduke of Austria, known as Mr. Burg since 1911
Mr. Meyer (1911/1915-1950/51)
Erich Lederer
Baron Elie de Rothschild (1954-1979)

The body hollow-cast by the lost wax process, the legs and horns solid-cast. Elaborately cold-worked with very fine engraving and chasing.

Condition: unfortunately tampered with in the 16th century to conform to the taste of the day. The whole surface was stripped down to the metal and then covered with blackish lacquer, presently almost all worn off.

The ends of the broken horns filed down to the same length the hind legs missing and the breaks also filed down. A hole behind the testicles and a jagged gash in the lower stomach a large round hole between the front paws, possibly made in the 16th century.

The surface a smooth metal, a light medal colour at the much-rubbed knees, with traces of blackish lacquer and a few minute specks of green patina and reddish cuprite.

The engraving worn but visible on most parts.

Characteristic of Achaemenid art is the animal's somewhat "human" upper face with its brow almost like a diadem, in addition to which it bears some resemblance for the plasticity of its body and neck to the silver gilt handles in Berlin[3] and the Louvre[4]. The slight twist of the head relates it to the handles of the amphora in Paris[5]. and there is also a rapport for the ears. The incised undulating lines around the thickening of the horns are a schematic way of showing what are usually portrayed with gilded ripples in low relief on the silver gilt handles of amphorae, and which are represented in a similar way but without gilding on the silver ibex handles of the amphora, cat. no. 205.

This rearing ibex was surely the handle of a bronze ensemble - but whether of an amphora, some other vessel or possibly even a piece of furniture, is uncertain - for we have the remains of a groove just under the knees of the forepaws, but the hind
paws are broken too high to give a more precise indication. However, the stance would indeed be appropriate for an amphora-type vessel.

Notwithstanding the wear by depatination and repeated handling for over four hundred years, the remains of the elaborate chasing over different parts of the head and body and the punched dots on the muzzle point to the first half of the 4th century and to an artistic centre somewhere in the Achaemenid Empire.

Published :
Amandry, P.: Toreutique achéménide, AntK 2, 2, 1959,
p. 38 ff., pl. 26-28.
Porada, E.: Alt-Iran, die Kunst in vorislamischer Zeit (Baden-Baden, 1962), pp. 164-165.
Cooper, D. (ed.): Great Private Collections: Baron Elie de Rothschild (London, 1963), p. 172.
Porada, E.: The Art of Ancient Iran. Pre-Islamic Cultures (New York, 1965), pl. 48.

Dr. Alfred Bernhard-Walcher of the Antikensammlung, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, at our request, has researched the history of the ibex. We would like to express here our deepest gratitude.

1 Imperial Vicar in the Tyrol and younger brother of the Emperor Maximilian II.

2 P. Amandry says of the ibex: "private collection, provenance unknown", and E. Porada mentions "private collection, Paris" and adds: "Possibly, this piece belonged formerly to the Ambras collection and perhaps this ibex has passed on from hand to hand since the time of its production". The "hand to hand" is a very nice idea but highly improbable, for the piece was surely buried and what the bronze's surface underwent is explained above.

It belonged to Archduke Ferdinand II, one of the great collectors of the 16th century, its provenance unrecorded, was part of the Ambras collection and remained in the Habsburg collections until the early 20th century. Our first record of it is in an inventory made in 1596 "also a long animal of metal, three feet and both horns broken" again in the inventory of 1788 as still in Innsbruck: "No. 174. An animal with very long body, short tail, two horns and a beard. Is in my opinion a sort of Egyptian goat. The entire body is covered with long hairs. Made of bronze, 7 1/2 inches in length (= c. 19.5 cm)". Between 1806 and 1808, documentation in the archives shows that the ibex was for a very short time in the KuK Münz- und Antikenkabinett in Vienna: "a large ibex, his body stretched powerfully, about to make a great leap". The inventory of 1821 (collection in Vienna) reads: "No. 233. A long animal seated on its hind legs, like an Egyptian goat. The forepaws are broken, the horns slightly damaged. Bronze. 7 1/2 inches long". Still in Vienna in 1877: "Inv. no. 233, elongated jumping goat, defective". (Excerpts from the inventories appear here translated from the German texts relayed to us by Dr. Bernhard-Walcher in a letter of 28 November and a card of 14 December 1990.)

It is last mentioned in the imperial collections in a revised inventory of 1884, for in a newly-established Kunstkammer inventory of 1896 which included the objects of the Ambras collection, it is no longer listed. It possibly went to a small castle in Merano, Schloss Rottenstein, which was furnished with lots of apparently minor objects which came from the Emperor's castle at Ambras. Archduke Ferdinand Karl (1868-1915), lost his imperial family rights when stripped of his title by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1911 when the latter learnt that his nephew had secretly married a commoner in 1909, Bertha Czuber he was from then on known as Mr. Burg. However the emperor magnanimously allowed him to keep his financial prerogatives and gave him Schloss Rottenstein fully furnished.

Watch the video: Bushel with ibex motifs (August 2022).