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Vessel with six animal friezes

Iron Age II
ca. 10th–8th century B.C.
Northwestern Iran
H. 34.8 cm
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1964
Accession Number:
64.257.1a, b
  • Description

    Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was widely used throughout the Near East by the late third millennium B.C. It could be made into many forms by casting, in which molten metal was poured into a mold, or by hammering.

    This vessel was formed entirely by hammering two sheets of metal, joined in the middle by bronze rivets. Six registers of birds, trees, and horned and striding animals were hammered up from the vessel's surface in the repoussé technique. The bodies were then elaborately decorated with chased lines created by a dull tool that, when struck, pushed the metal to either side. The chased and repoussé decoration has parallels to ivory plaques from the burned fortress of Hasanlu and to gold and silver vessels from the rich burials at Marlik. The decoration has a striking similarity to Wild Goat-style pottery of eastern Greece, suggesting that Greek potters were familiar with this type of Near Eastern vessel.

  • Provenance

    Acquired by the Museum in 1964, purchased from Edward Safani, New York.

  • References

    Crawford, Vaughn E. 1965. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 24 (2), Ninety-Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees, for the Fiscal Year 1964-1965 (Oct., 1965), p. 46.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1972. "A Bronze Vase from Iran and its Greek Connections." Metropolitan Museum Journal 5, pp. 25-50.

    Calmeyer, Peter. 1973. Reliefbronzen in babylonischem Stil. Munich: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, p. 205, note 442c.

    Moorey, Peter R.S. 1975. "Some Elaborately Decorated Bronze Quiver Plaques Made in Luristan, c. 750-650 B.C." Iran 13, p. 25.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1977. "The Archeological Evidence for Relations between Greece and Iran in the First Millennium B.C." Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 9, p. 36.

    Moorey, Peter R.S. 1981. In Ancient Bronzes, Ceramics and Seals, edited by Glenn Markoe. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Art Museum, p. 84.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1983. In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 51.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1984. "Fibulae and Chronology, Marlike and Assur." Journal of Field Archaeology 11 (4), p. 417.

    Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, p. 45, fig. 62.

    Muscarella, Oscar W. 1988. Bronze and Iron: Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 82, no. 145 .

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History