Iranian / Ewer with dancing females within arcades / 6th century A.D.Iranian
Ewer with dancing females within arcades
6th century A.D.

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Middle Eastern; Persian
Creator Name-CRT: Iranian
Title: Ewer with dancing females within arcades
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 500
Creation End Date: 599
Creation Date: 6th century A.D.
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Vessels
Materials and Techniques: Silver, mercury gilding
Dimensions: H. of (a) 13.4 in. (34 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 67.10a, b
Credit Line: Purchase, Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Dillon Gift and Rogers Fund, 1967

Late Sasanian silver vessels, particularly bottles and ewers, often were decorated with female figures holding a variety of festal objects. The appearance of these motifs attests to the continuing influence of Greek imagery associated with the wine god Dionysus. On this silver-gilt vessel, floral arches, supported by low pilasters, frame four dancing female figures. Each holds a ceremonial object in either hand: grape and leaf branches, a vessel, a heart-shaped flower. Beneath one arcade, birds peck at fruit, and beneath another a tiny panther drinks from a ewer. Both the females and their decorative motifs recall representations of the maenads, attendants of Dionysus. However, it has been suggested that these figures have been adapted to the cult of the Iranian goddess Anahita. No texts survive to explain the appearance or function of these female figures, but it seems likely that vessels decorated with motifs such as these would have been intended to hold wine for court celebrations or religious festivals.

AMICA ID: MMA_.67.10a,b
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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