From the Iron Age, handless and footless bronze bowls, with a shallow calotte-shape and a small omphalos (a Greek word referring to a raised central point), framed by either an incised or a raised rosette, have been widely discovered in Assyria, Iran, Cyprus, Mainland Greece and Etruria. In Greek times, such bronze bowls, sometimes with elaborately decorated figural and zoomorphic ornaments, are known as ‘phiale mesomphalos’. They are believed to have been used as a cremation container or a dedicatory offering in ancient Greece, in accordance with Homer’s literature. However, bronze bowls with a central omphalos and rosette had a very clear Near Eastern origin. As this object presents, its combination of an Assyrian stylised rosette and characteristic Luristan herringbone pattern indicates that it might have been produced in the late eighth century BC. At this time, cultural and military contacts between Assyria and Iran intensified, which allowed traditional Assyrian aesthetical tastes and fashions to have a greater impact on local Iranian arts. Differentiating from their Greek counterparts, bronze bowls of this type might have been an elite object in both Assyrian and ancient Iran, and were probably used by royals and aristocrats for daily purposes.
Assyrian Bronze Bowl with a Rosette
An Assyrian finely cast and hammered bronze bowl, featuring a hemispherical container with a shallow calotte-shape, dating to the late 8th century BC. The bowl features a flat base and a straight rim. Its slightly convex walls render an elegant continuously curved profile. The central medallion features a beautifully incised rosette, from which a small, pyramid-shaped knob rises. Its rosette, comprising narrow, elongated petals that are characteristic of the Assyrian rosette, is framed by an encircling herringbone pattern.
Condition: Very fine condition, minor crack on the rim. The entire bowl is covered with attractively lustrous brownish patina.