Offering Plaque with a Genius

  • ca. 6th century B.C.
  • Gold
  • D-7.8
Catalogue Entry

ca. 6th century B.C.
Dia. 7.8 cm
A round gold plaque is incised with a winged human figure, standing with body facing outward and face turned to the right. The torso of this figure is round and pressed into a three dimensional shape incised with lines, forming the exact center of this disk. Both arms are raised, wings are spread to left and right, and the feet, with toes turned to the right, are spread wide to left and right. The figure is fitted with fan-like tail feathers. These various elements all radiate from the central torso. The source for this design can be found in the expression of winged birds of prey with their bodies facing forward, heads turned to the right, and wings and legs spread to left and right, as seen in cat. Nos. 202 k and l. This image is also thought to derive from the Egyptian god Horus, as seen in several similar examples in the Oxus treasure (nos. 25, 33, 34).
The god Horus had a protective role, and hence this round disk may have been used as a protective amulet. The iconography may show Khvarenah. The head decoration worn by this figure with its vertical incised lines is in the shape of the crowns worn by Persian kings, and thus this would be the overlapping of the so-called Ahura Mazda expression (=Khvarenah) with that of the king.