Phiale with inscription


Historical period(s)
Achaemenid period, Reign of Artaxerxes I, 499-400 BCE
H x Diam (overall): 4.8 x 29.5 cm (1 7/8 x 11 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 21a: Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran
Metalwork, Vessel


Achaemenid period (ca. 550 - 331 BCE), chasing, engraving, hammering, Iran, repousse, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Gawain McKinley


On the rim of this bowl is an inscription in Old Persian cuneiform, which names the Achaemenid Persian king Artaxerxes I (reigned 465-425 B.C.E.). The inscription has been translated as: "Artaxerxes the Great King, King of Kings, King of Countries, son of Xerxes the King, of Xerxes [who was] son of Darius the king; in whose royal house this silver saucer was made." Shallow bowls of this form, used for drinking wine, were made from various materials, including metal, glass, and ceramic. Royal vessels made of precious metal, like this one, were versatile forms of wealth; they could serve as royal tableware, be stored in the treasury, or be given away as gifts.

Published References
  • Ann C. Gunter Paul Jett. Ancient Iranian Metalwork in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Mainz, Germany, 1992. cat. 3, pp. 69-73.
  • Louise Allison Cort, Dr. Massumeh Farhad, Ann C. Gunter. Asian Traditions in Clay: The Hauge Gifts. Washington, 2000. p. 48, fig. 5.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 88, pp. 114-115.
  • Amelie Kuhrt. The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period. 2 vols., London and New York. p. 317, fig. 8a.
  • Art of Asia Recently Acquired by American Museums. vol. 29 New York and Honolulu, 1975-1976. p. 118, fig. 60.
  • Clyde Fant Mitchell Reddish. Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums. Grand Rapids, MI. .
  • Ann C. Gunter. The Art of Eating and Drinking in Ancient Iran. vol. 1, no. 2 New York. p. 29.
  • Ernst Herzfeld. Ein Silberschussel Artaxerxes I. vol. VII Berlin. pp. 1-8.
  • Ernst Herzfeld. untitled article in Archaologische Mitteilungen aus Iran. vol. 8 Berlin. pp. 5-17.
  • John Curtis. Silver Dish of Artaxerxes. vol. 19, Autumn 1994. p. 24.
  • John Curtis, M.R. Cowell, C.B.F. Walker. A Silver Bowl of Artaxerxes I. vol. 33, 1995. pp. 149-153.
  • Roland G. Kent. Old Persian: Grammer, Texts, Lexicon. American Oriental Series, vol. 33, 2nd edition, revised. New Haven. pp. 113, 153.
  • Sotheby's (London). Catalog of Egyptian, Western Asiatic, Greek, and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Pottery, Metalwork, and Glass. London, 1970. lot 141.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 42-43.
  • p. 173, fig. 75.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Near Eastern Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum