Achaemenid Silver Phiale
An ancient Achaemenid silver lobed phiale (offering bowl) with embossed decoration showing a stylized lotus-flower design on the interior. Hammered from a single thick piece of silver sheet.
Ca. 5th-4th century BC.
Phialai were used by the Persian king and he gave them as gifts to his honored guests, as did Persian provincial governors across the empire. As a result they became markers of high status in the Persian Empire. People who had no royal connections might have phialai made for themselves by local metalworkers in silver or bronze. This accounts for many variations of these vessels known today.
Cf. Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 47.100.84, and British Museum, inv. no. 1994,0127.1, both bearing royal inscriptions along the rim.
Formerly in a New York private collection.