Ancient Persian Terracotta Jar with Zoomorphic Figures


A fine Ancient Persian terracotta jar featuring a globular body with a slightly concave neck and an everted rim. The vessel stands on a tall narrow foot which splays outwards at the base. Its body is enriched with a decorative frieze divided into two registers, enclosed by continuous bands executed in dark pigmentation. The top register shows a geometric motif composed of evenly spaced elongated ovolos, whilst the main register displays three zoomorphic figures with exaggerated features. The larger animals, likely bulls, are depicted with long bodies marked by vertical strips. A bird stands between them in a squatted pose, presenting cross hatching on the body to render its plumage.

Date: Circa 3rd-2nd Millennium BC
Condition: Fine condition; a chip to the rim, some flaking to the pigment and a minor dent to the body. Earthy encrustations remain on the surface.


Ancient Iranian artistic production dating to the 3rd millennium BC is characterised by finely potted, high fired terracotta vessels, usually enriched by dark pigmented geometric or zoomorphic decorations. Such vessels would have been produced to store food, but also as burial goods to be placed with the deceased in the tomb. Flaring cups, such as this fine example, are among the most popular artefacts excavated from Iranian graves, especially the ones from Susa in southwestern Iran. Although the first examples of Ancient Iranian pottery production display simple shapes and stylised decorative motives, terracotta wares evolved embracing aesthetics driven from all the cultures Ancient Iran and later the Persian Empire entered in contact with.

Weight 577 g
Dimensions W 13.2 x H 14.4 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

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