Sasanian 4th Century A.D. silver-gilt hunting plate featuring a king on an ostrich hunt for sale at Bonhams

3 Apr 2014, Antiquities
Antiquities

Sasanian 4th Century A.D. silver-gilt hunting plate featuring a king on an ostrich hunt for sale at Bonhams

3 Apr 2014, Antiquities

A breathtaking 1,600 year old silver-gilt plate estimated to sell for £250,000 is one of the top lots in Bonhams next sale of Antiquities on 3rd April in London.

The plate, decorated in relief, shows a king thought to be Hormizd II from the area known today as Iran, mounted on a horse while hunting ostriches or great bustards. The plate weighs close to a kilo. It is estimated to sell for £150,000-250,000.

Royal hunting scenes were an important motif in Sasanian art, depicting kings and the royal family as gloriously-attired, and full of vigour and skill. Many of these gilded silver plates show similar scenes of kings hunting boar, rams, stags and lions. The representation of an ostrich or bustard however is extremely rare.

The bird-headed crown with wings is most frequently associated with Hormizd II and this plate shows the king wearing a specific crown of a winged eagle with two pearls in its mouth. Hormizd II wears such a crown on many of his coins and is also shown wearing a similar crown on the equestrian relief at Naqsh-e Rustam.

It is possible that the plate is meant to depict Hormizd II as a young prince, as he is shown without his usual beard and with straight hair reminiscent of his father Narseh's style. Sasanian crown princes are often shown without beards.

Contacts
  1. Julian Roup
    Author
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8259
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8209
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