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Decorated Ladle with Inscription

Culture Sassanian
Culture Sasanian
Title Decorated Ladle with Inscription
Date 500–700 CE
Medium Silver and gold and niello
Dimensions Overall: 9 7/8 x 3 3/16 in. (25.2 x 8.2 cm)
Credit Line Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 83.22

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About this Work

Finely crafted silver vessels were valued as prestige items, and they were often further embellished with gilding (added gold) and niello (a black mixture of sulfur, silver, copper, and sometimes lead, used to fill engraved lines on silver plate). This kind of inlay was practiced during the Roman Imperial period and was further developed in the Byzantine East. A Sassanian craftsman used it to great advantage in the ring finial with peacock heads on the ladle handle. The inscription on the front of the handle is in Pahlavi (the Iranian language of Sassanid Persia) and can be translated as meaning joy or happiness, an expression appropriately associated with the beauty of this piece.

1983, Indiana University Art Museum purchase from Robin Symes Limited, London, England

?–1983, with Robin Symes Limited, London, England [1]


[1] Robin Symes (b. 1939) operated as an art and antiquities dealer in London from about 1970. Robin Symes Limited was founded in 1977 and dissolved in 2005.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Decorated Ladle with Inscription | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.