An Achaemenid glass phiale
Lot 192
An Achaemenid glass phiale
£30,000 - 50,000
US$ 51,000 - 84,000
Auction Details
An Achaemenid green glass lobed bowl An Achaemenid green glass lobed bowl An Achaemenid green glass lobed bowl
Lot Details
An Achaemenid glass phiale
Iran, circa 5th-early 4th Century B.C.
Pale greenish in colour, produced by lost wax casting, then ground and polished, the shallow bowl with flaring rim, decorated with twelve projecting tear-shaped lobes, interspersed with twelve elongated petals with medial ridge starting from the central mesomphalos, 7 7/8in (19.7cm) diam


  • Provenance:
    English private collection, acquired in the 1950s, thence by descent.

    These luxury vessels, made in the finest quality colourless glass, derived their forms from Achaemenid silver and bronze pieces, and were specially made in imitation of highly prized rock crystal.

    The largest assemblage of Persian glass known, comprising twenty-four vessels including a phiale with projecting lobes interspersed with cut floral decoration, was recovered between 1931 and 1934 from the palace treasury at Persepolis, the royal residence that was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. Cf. A. Oliver Jr., Persia Export Glass, Journal of Glass Studies 12, 1970, pp.15-16; Shinji Fukai, Persian Glass, New York and Tokyo, 1977, p.19, fig.5; and D. F. Grose, Early Ancient glass. Core-formed, Rod-formed and Cast vessels and objects from the late bronze age to the early Roman empire, 1600 B.C. - 50 A.D., The Toledo Museum of Art, New York, 1989, pp.80-81).

    A similar bowl with a more hemispherical profile is preserved in the Hermitage, cf Nina Kunina, Ancient glass in the Hermitage collection, St. Petersburg, 1997, pp.68, 225, no.47, fig.27.
  1. Madeleine Perridge
    Specialist - Antiquities
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