Silver, mercury gilding, niello inlay
H. 1 7/8 in. (4.6 cm), Diam. 8 5/8 in. (21.9 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1934 (34.33)
The king as hunter becomes a standard motif on royal Sasanian silver plates during the reign of Shapur II (30979). The theme symbolized the invincibility and the prowess of Sasanian rulers and dominated the royal plates, which may have been used as gifts to neighboring courts. The king has various royal attributes: a crown and fillet, covered globe, nimbus with beaded border, and beaded chest halter with fluttering ribbons. The identity of the Sasanian king on this plate is uncertain. His crown identifies him as either Peroz (r. 45984) or Kavad I (r. 48897, 499531).
Sasanian silver bowls and plates were usually hammered into shape and then decorated in various complex techniques. On this plate, separate pieces of silver were inserted into lips cut up from the plate to provide high relief. The plate was then gilded using an amalgam of mercury and gold, which could be painted onto the surface, and nielloa metallic alloy of sulfur and silverwas inlaid. The result was an object of varied surface contours and colors.