Offering Plaque

  • ca. 5th century B.C.
  • Gold
  • H-12.8 W-6.7
Catalogue Entry

ca. 5th century B.C.
H. 12.8 cm, W. 6.7 cm
An image of a Zoroastrian priest walking to the right is incised on a rectangular gold sheet. His arms are bent at the elbow as he holds flowers punched with small circles on in his right hand and six barsoms in his left hand held slightly lower. The priest is shown wearing a soft felt hat or Kyrbasia, and ribbons hang down from the back of the hat. Beneath the Kyrbasia, his face is shown covered with mask at his mouth, a pose assumed so that he will not contaminate the fires of Zoroaster. His dress is a kandys, or a long coat with long, thin sleeves, over a short, belted tunic. In line with one tradition, the kandys is placed over the shoulders with the sleeves hanging loosely down (only in the presence of the king are the arms said to have been thrust through the sleeves). This garment has a vertical border which is pressed with small circular stamped motifs. These represent decorative plaques which would have been sewn onto the garment. The left leg that is extended forward is also covered with these small circular stamped motifs, and a dot has been incised in the middle of each circle. He wears short boots with rounded toes. He walks on a ground plane that is shown with a single incised line. The linear incising and stamped patterns of the image are extremely carefully worked, and in some places this becomes a pressed shallow relief image. This is one of the greatest works amongst the Bactrian treasure.