Plate with the Enthroned King Surrounded by Musicians and Servants

Iran, early 8th century

A ruler seated on his throne holding a bowl is an iconographic subject that was widely used in the Middle East from deep antiquity. The figure of the king seems huge in comparison with the little depictions of musicians and servants, something evidently intended to attest to his might. The servants’ mouths are covered with cloths to prevent their breath defiling the air of the royal apartments. Details of daily life are conveyed with great thoroughness. The ruler’s elbow rests on a heap of cushions, while arrows lie beneath the patterned throne. Depicted on the lower part of the platter are vessels with typical Sasanian shapes, including a jug with a narrow neck and a flask with an oval body. Similar pieces can be seen in the display. Between them is a sieve, from which wine is flowing into a vessel resembling a Greek amphora. Decorative elements in the form of little flowers and hearts, as well as a winged figure wielding a bow, are reminders of Graeco-Roman influence. This piece was made in the traditions of Sasanian art, but, judging by stylistic indications, already after the period of Sasanian rule.


Plate with the Enthroned King Surrounded by Musicians and Servants

Place of creation:



chasing, gilding


diameter: 23,2 cm

Place of finding:

Russia, Perm province. Found in 1909

Acquisition date:

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

Inventory Number: