Lion Griffin (Fragment of a Rhyton)
- Black Sea region
- 5th - 4th century B.C.
- Gilded silver
- H-11 D-4.2 W-5.5
5th‐4th century B.C.
H. 11.0 cm, W. 5.5 cm, Depth 4.2 cm
This silver lion griffin would have been attached to the end of a rhyton, and it is thought to have had a spout in its now damaged chest. The head has mountain goat-like horns and a bird-like decoration between the horns. Almond-shaped motifs decorate above the eyes, cheeks and above the upper jaw. These are all elements of Achaemenid period style. The griffin was respected as a protective sacred animal, and thus frequently appeared on Persian architecture, jewelry and vessels. This is a superb example of the type.
The "vessels" division is represented by a relatively large number of objects.There are 22 items of gold (cat. Nos. 123-144) and 26 of silver (cat. Nos. 97-122). Among the silver vessels, there are 6 goblets (cat. Nos. 103-106, 108, 109) tall libation vessels Achaemenid in form, but decorated in a style which is typically Hellenistic. Similar cups are held by the magi represented on the relief sculptures and votive plaques. Three rhyta made for a similar purpose are unfortunately in a fragmentary condition (cat. Nos. 118, 119, 122). In addition there are 8 shallow bowls (cat. Nos. 97-99, 101, 102, 111-113) for ritual libations. The gold vessels were used for the same purpose; there are 18 libation bowls, of simple form, most of which have a rounded base and everted rim (cat. Nos. 123-140). One tall vessel of a pyxis type with a lid (cat. No. 142) appears to be the earliest of the vessels in the collection. Of special interest is an incense burner in the form of a censer with four rings for suspension (cat. No. 141).
Although the number of vessels in this collection is considerably larger than those of the Oxus Treasure in the British Museum, they probably served the same function. The vessels of both collections are closely paralleled by the vessels held by worshippers depicted on the Persepolis reliefs. This observation makes it possible to date them. It is worth adding here that the manufacture of goblets of similar shape and of rhyta in the Persepolitan style is depicted on a relief in a pronaos on the northern wall of the tomb of Petosiris at Hermopolis Magna in Egypt. According to Muscarella, the reliefs attest the manufacture of embossed articles in Egypt right up until 300 BC.
Rhyton with a Stag Censer Shallow Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Shallow Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Phiale with a Rosette Pattern Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Phiale Fragment of a Shallow Bowl Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Bowl with a Lotus and PalmettePattern Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Bowl with a Human Heads Decoration Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Shallow Bowl with a Leaf Plate with Ketos Bowl Kotyle with Mythical Figures Situla with a Lion's Head Rhyton with a horse protome Horse (Fragment of a rhyton) Winged Human-headed Bull(Fragment of a rhyton) Decoration of a Ladle Disk-like Round Mirror Shallow Bowl with a Rosette Pattern Sallow Bowl Sallow Bowl Bowl Sallow Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl Bowl with Lid