Horse-Shaped Drinking Vessel

Horse-Shaped Drinking Vessel


Silver, partially gilt

Overall: 12 x 10.8 x 32.7 cm (4 3/4 x 4 1/4 x 12 7/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1964.41


The horse was a favorite artistic subject in ancient Iran, where horsebreeding flourished. This muscular Sasanian stallion was descended from the royal and sacred Nisean breed of the Achaemenian Persians. Although Sasanian horse-trappings were elaborate, they did not include stirrups for mounting. In this rendition, the steed lies still, as camels in the Near East do today, waiting for its rider to mount. The medallions on each shoulder contain busts, perhaps of rulers of different parts of the Sasanian Empire, holding their rings of authority.

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