Sasanian dancers in silver

This silver ewer was made between the 6th-7th century C.E. in Iran, or Sasanian ruled Persia. Many ewers of this time period were pear shaped, and gilt with gold. The dancers on the ewer have symbolic meaning, dancing with cups and grapes, representing the cult of Dionysus, the Roman cult which spread over the Mediterranean and Middle East. The size of the ewer is 35.5 cm by 16.9 cm by 14 cm. The item is currently in the Freer and Sackler Museum, Accession number S1987.117.

This vase is also pear shaped silver with gilt gold. There are four dancers appearing on it, one with fruit and a falcon, another with a cup and a dog by her side, the third with a staff covered in vines or ivy. Repeated is the symbolism of the Dionysian cult, but also the symbolism of the cult of Anahita. The measurements are 15.24 cm (height) by 10.8 cm (diametre) by 5.4 cm (base). It is currently in the Los Angeles Museum of Art, Acession number AC1992.152.82.

This silver bowl, gilt with gold is decorated on the outside with three dancers and three musicians.
The animal on the base is a combination of boar and The Simurgh, which is tied back to the Zoroastrian belief of Verethragna. The bowl was sold by The Saleroom in 2015.


Two Sasanian silverware pieces with dancers

sasanianewer This Sasanian ewer was made between the 6th and 7th century, made from silver with mercury gilding and is 34 cm high. It has four dancing female figures on it, as well as pillars, birds, flowers and panthers. The four dancers are thought to be based on Dionysus mythology, as they hold grapes, heart shaped flowers and drinking vessels. The item is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

sasaniandancerswithscarves This vase was also made between the 6th to 7th century, is silver partially gilded with gold and is 13.9 cm high. There are also four dancers embossed on the vase, linked with scarves. The dancers are naked except for hair decoration, necklaces and anklets. The dancers could be from the cult of Anahita, possibly personifications of the seasons. The vase was sold by Pierre Berge & Associates for 74000 €. sasaniandancerswithscarves2

Recommended reading
The Technical Examination of Two Sasanian Silver Plates by W. T. Chase. JStor article.
A Sasanian Silver Dish by M. S. Dimand. JStor article.
From Byzantium to Sasanian Iran and the Islamic World by Richard Ettinghausen. Via Google Books.
Lions, Silks and Silver: The Influence of Sasanian Persia by Heleanor Feltham. PDF document via the University of New South Wales.
Silver Vessels of the Sasanian Period: Royal imagery by Prudence Oliver Harper. Via Google Books.
The Mysteries of Mithras: The Pagan Belief That Shaped the Christian World edited by Payam Nabarz. Via Google Books.