Achaemenid Silver Phiale
An ancient Achaemenid silver carinated phiale (offering bowl) with a flared rim. The exterior is decorated with a central rosette surrounded by the radiating petals of a lotus flower.
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. John Curtis and Nigel Tallis, eds. Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia (2005), p. 178, cat. no. 277 (Louvre inv. no. Sb 2756), from the Susa acropolis; Brooklyn Museum of Art, inv. no. 54.50.33, probably from the Tell el-Maskhuta hoard from Egypt.
Formerly in a New York private collection.