Dish with Tsarist Feast

Central Asia, Late 7th - early 8th century

The ruler seated on an ottoman holding a bowl is the second most popular subject in Sassanid toreutics after hunting. This dish shows the monarch in richly embroidered clothing, decorated with little plaques or precious stones, with an elegant belt around his waist, a torc around his neck and bracelets around his wrists. He rests on the low seat, leaning back against a stack of cushions. The craftsman lovingly presents the patterns of the embroidered caftan, the tapestry covering the seat, the cushions and the carved legs of the throne. Despite the impression of elegance that the figure of the ruler produces, our attention is caught by the unnatural turn of his body and the disproportionately large square head. The king is surrounded by smaller figures of musicians and servants. The servants’ mouths are gagged to prevent their breathing disturbing their master’s peace. Some elements here that are unusual for Sassanid toreutics – the little flying figure holding a bow, the hearts and flowers scattered across the surface of the dish – indicate a western influence.


Dish with Tsarist Feast

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Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1913; transferred from the Imperial Archaeological Commission

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