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On a splayed ring foot, with high sides, the lower body with a simple incised rosette pattern around the foot, the upper body with two similar scenes in relief, one side with central masks of a meanad and bearded silene with wreaths in their hair, a krater with ribbed body above and a wineskin below, a beribboned thyrsos and a seed head staff either side, framed by a panther and a hunting hound wearing a collar, each seated in a thicket with a forepaw raised, the other side with masks of a maenad and youthful satyr, a phiale above and syrinx below, a beribboned lagabolon and thrysos either side, framed by a lion and boar seated in thickets, each side divided with a laden date palm, a fine Elymaean variety of Aramaic inscription running around the lower body over the rosette decoration, presenting traces of gilding
3 in. (7.5 cm.) high; 4 3/8 in. (11 cm.) diam.
Private collection, UK, 1970; acquired Tehran 1964.

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Georgiana Aitken
Georgiana Aitken

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Lot Essay

Elymais was a local, so-called 'Hellenistic' dynasty, in south-western Iran which flourished during the Seleucid and Arsakid periods, circa 188 B.C. to 222 A.D. The word Elymais is a diminutive of Elam and can be translated as Elam Minor. The Elymaean dialect of Aramaic is known only from the coinage of the rulers of Elymais and a few short rock inscriptions and is still not yet fully deciphered.

The inscription on the bowl above has been partially translated as follows: "This cup, which Athana, the daughter of the cupbearer (Madubara), the concubine(?) of King Orodes Phraates, brought in for all the...,(weighs) 29 s(taters)".

Madubara is a Persian word meaning 'cup-bearer', although it is not clear in this inscription if it is used as a title or personal name. The following phrase indicates that either Madubara or more likely his daughter is somehow connected with King Orodes Phraates, who probably ruled in the late 2nd Century A.D. The inscription ends with an indication of the weight of the object. The current weight of the cup is 519g, therefore a very heavy stater of 17.69g seems to be implied.

Please note that the US Iranian Transaction Regulations restrict the import into the USA, and the purchase by US persons, of certain types of Iranian origin property appearing in this catalogue. Iranian origin informational materials (including fine art by recognized artists and books and manuscripts) may be imported into the USA and purchased by US persons, but Iranian origin works of conventional craftsmanship (works that are not by a recognized artist and/or that have a function) may not. It is the responsibility of US persons to ensure that they do not bid on prohibited Iranian origin property. US persons include US citizens and US permanent residents (greencard holders) wherever these individuals are located, US entities and any other persons temporarily resident or located in the US.


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