A Post Sasanian Banquet Scene, Tabaristan, 7th Century AD


A larger image of this Post Sasanian Banquet Scene, Tabaristan, 7th Century AD

Object type: dish
Museum number: 1963,1210.3
Description: Dish, with foot-rim. Made of gilded silver and decorated on the interior with relief decoration of a ruler in Sasanian costume reclining on a couch, surrounded by attendants, musicians and items essential for an outdoor banquet: a vine hung with ripe grapes, a water-bottle made from the skin of a whole animal, wine jugs in a cooler and a pot suspended over a fire.
Culture/period: Early Islamic
Date: 7thC-8thC
Production place: Made in: Tabaristan, North Iran, Mazandaran (province)
Excavated/Findspot: Tabaristan, North Iran, Mazandaran (province)
Materials: silver, gold
Technique: gilded
Dimensions:
    Diameter: 19.7 centimetres
    Height: 4 centimetres
Inscriptions:
    Inscription Script: Pahlavi
    Inscription Language: Persian
    Inscription Translation: Anushzad
Curator's comments:
Bivar reads the inscription as Khorezmian and giving the weight of the bowl. Blurton, 1997: During the first century of Islam, vessels reflected earlier cultural traditions of the area in which they were made. Tabaristan was famous for silver vessels decorated in relief with scenes derived from the iconography of the Sasanian Empire. Hundreds of vessels were sent to the Caliphal court at Damascus and then to Baghdad where their beauty was celebrated in contemporary poetry.
British museum 1963,1210.3



A Post-Sasanian plate in the British Museum, which Ghirshman dates in the seventh century A.D. shortly after the fall of the dynasty, represents a figure in a banquet scene clad in a girdle with short straps studded with metal circles. The stylization of the drapery and the heavy square faces of the figures are closer to Central Asian than Persian prototypes. Perhaps the plate was made on the eastern borders of Iran which would account for the presence here of a Central Asian type of belt.
Elsie Holmes Peck, The Representation of Costumes in the Reliefs of Taq-i-Bustan. Artibus Asiae, Vol. 31, No. 2/3, 1969, Fig. 16.

D. A. Smirnoff, Argenterie orientale, St Petersburg, 1909, Pl. XXXVII, no. 66, Plate of Banquet scene. VII century A.D. British Museum

Although Persia was conquered by the muslims, Tabaristan remained independant until annexed by the Abbasid Caliphate in 765AD.
The Bavand dynasty (also spelled Bavend), or simply the Bavandids, was an Iranian dynasty that ruled in parts of Tabaristan (Mazandaran) in what is now northern Iran from 651 until 1349, alternating between outright independence and submission as vassals to more powerful regional rulers.



See also A Sasanian Plate with Royal Feast, 6th-7th Centuries AD, Walters Art Gallery
Daylami - by David Nicolle, extracts from The military technology of classical Islam
Back to Sasanian and Central Asian Plates


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