Sassanian Silver Boat Shaped Vessel


A beautiful, polished silver boat-shaped vessel with an elliptical plan, sloping sides and rounded bottom. The interior is thoroughly decorated with hallmarked dots.

Date: Ca. AD 224–651

Size: L:167mm / W:130mm ; 191.8g

Condition: Excellent condition

Provenance: Acquiried from M.A.; Previously in a collection formed on the UK/International art market since the 1970s.



Elliptical bowls in silver are a recognisable artefact type for the Sassanians which have no known antecedents in the Graeco-Roman world nor in Western Asia. They appear towards the end of the period, in the 6th century onwards. The form of the vessel has been associated with the custom of drinking wine and the boat-shaped profile may be a reference to the important wine trade of the time. The Sassanian empire is famed for the high quality of its ceremonial metalware, which was used both during banqueting and during religious rituals. Under the Sasanians, Iranian art experienced a general renaissance. Artistically, this period witnessed some of the highest achievements of Iranian civilization. Metalwork and gem engraving became highly sophisticated.

For more information, see Akbarzadeh, D. et al. (2001). Two Recently Discovered Inscribed Sasanian Silver Bowls. Bulletin of the Asia Institute, New Series, Vol. 15.


Additional information

Weight .1918 kg
Dimensions 16.7 × 13 cm

Near Eastern


Near East