Sasanian Terracotta Bulla with General of the South


A finely impressed Sassanian terracotta bulla, depicting a horseman in a full clibanarius-type armour. Rendered in a stylistic manner, both the horse and the rider are seen in profile facing right. Such iconographic formula reveals the man’s status as a ruler, based on the convention in Sasanian art established with king Ardashir I (AD 180 – 242), which wanted kings portrayed facing rightwards. The man has well-defined facial features, a prominent nose: a large eye and a long beard; he holds a long lance in his right hand, while the sheath of a sword hangs from his waist. A Pahlavi inscription is written around the central image.

Date: Circa AD 200 - 600
Provenance: Ex major S.M. Collection, London, Mayfair, acquired 1970s-90s.
Condition: Fine condition. Minor chips to the surface consistent with age.


SKU: AF-37 Category: Tags: , ,

The Sassanians or Sasanians succeeded the Achaemenids, establishing an Empire which, at its peak, expanded from the Euphrates to the Indus Rivers and included modern-day Armenia and Georgia. Also referred to as the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, the Sasanian Empire became the last Persian imperial dynasty and political power to rule in the region of the Near East and western Asia before the arrive of Islam. Sasanian art borrowed from Near Eastern and Greco-Roman traditions, and adapted the significance of these cultures’ iconography to the local repertoire. The impressions of Sasanian seals, preserved on clay bullae suggest that the seals functioned as validation of documents as guarantees of exchanged goods and services both in an administrative context and in private society.

Weight 140 g
Dimensions L 7.4 x W 6.6 x H 3.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

Reference: For similar item see: Christie's, Auction 9599, Lot 279

You may also like…