• Achaemenid period
  • 5th - 4th centuries B.C.
  • Silver
  • H-6.2 D-33.8
Catalogue Entry(Bac#034)

5th‐4th century B.C.
H. 6.0 cm, Dia. 33.0 cm, Weight 1,515 g
This bowl is in the shape of the "omphalos" bowl which was common in the Achaemenid period. The base of this large bowl is decorated with a circular protrusion, and the body of the vessel is surrounded by twelve teardrop-shaped protrusions. There are 12 lotus buds placed between the teardrop shapes. The outer edge of the vessel rim which spreads outward is incised with two cuneiform inscriptions. The first states in Babylonian "silver bowl made [for] King Artaxerxses" and the second is in ancient Persian and states, "silver bowl made at the palace of King Artaxerxses." Unfortunately it cannot be determined which of the three generations of kings by this name is referred to in these inscriptions.
This type of bowl had long been used in both Greece and Persia, and is based on the form of the cups used for drinking and libations used in Assyria. Originally the omphalos bowls of the Achaemenid period had the central protrusion so that the bearer's finger could be fitted in the depression to hold the bowl, but here the protrusion is large and shallow and can thus be considered to be a simply decorative element.