- H-19.4 D-6
Pairs or multiples of identically decorated vessels occur only rarely in the corpus of silver plate that has survived from the Sasanian period (A.D. 224-651). These two vases vary so slightly in size, proportion, decoration, and workmanship that both may have been executed by a single master. Raised beads in high relief encircle the base of the neck, and four rows of raised disks surround the body of each vase from top to bottom. Within the disks is the chased figure of a bird, alternately a guinea fowl and a quail or pheasant chick. The birds are represented in rows facing alternately to the right or to the left.
Sharply raised medallions, projecting at regular intervals from the body of a silver vessel, are a striking and unusual form of decoration adopted in imitation of precious cut-glass and rock-crystal receptacles.1 On late Sasanian and early Islamic works made from these materials, the surfaces are carved away between the disks, leaving the circles, which have an attractive reflective quality, in high relief. The decorative disks on these two silver vases are hammered out from the body and are given further prominence and heightened contrast by the gilding of the background.
1. Splendeur 1993, p. 265, no. 114.