Amlaš, a small village in the Gīlān province of northern Iran, has given its name to an assortment of archaeological artefacts recovered from the valleys of the nearby Alborz range. These artefacts range in date from the late second millennium BC through the Partho-Sasanian period, with most dated to the 9th and 8th centuries BC. A main characteristic of Amlash pottery is its intricate sculptural and technical manufacture, deeply influenced by Mesopotamian and Syrian civilisations. Zoomorphic drinking or ritual vessels are abundant in Amlash pottery and usually feature depictions of animals common to that region. Such vessels have been recovered across Mesopotamia and Anatolia, and they were known as BIBRÛ, from the word for “bird” in Akkadian, a Semitic language spoken in ancient Babylonia and Assyria. BIBRU vessels appeared for the first time in Uruk Mesopotamia and might have been produced as ceremonial drinking vessels, dedicated to specific deities. They might also have served as drinking vessels for the social elite and royal family members. BIBRÛ vessels usually display a prominent spout on the animal’s back and a secondary tubular opening on the animal’s mouth. However, this fine example differs from known BIBRU examples in having only a single opening, instead of the usual two. Possibly it can be identified as a varied type of rython, a drinking vessel usually modelled in the shape of animals and widely used in Near Eastern and Western Asiatic cultures.
Amlash Zoomorphic Ritual Vessel
A nicely rendered Western Asiatic, Amlash red terracotta vessel, modelled in the shape of a stylised goat, with long horns extending downwards and backwards. The vessel stands on four short legs, and features globular body and a cylindrical spout to the top, which would have allowed libations to be filled and poured. Vessels of this type were probably used for ceremonial function and often placed in graves.
Condition: Fine, professionally restored.