2,500-year-old Persian glass survivor auctioned at Bonhams in London

. May 2, 2013

An astonishing survivor, a glass Achaemenid bowl from the ancient Persian Empire, circa 5th-early 4th Century B.C. made £481,250 at Bonhams sale of Antiquities in London on May 1st. The bowl’s pre-sale estimate was just £30,000 to £50,000 and it strong price reflects the success of the sale generally which made a total of £2m.

An Achaemenid glass phiale Iran, circa 5th-early 4th Century B.C.

An Achaemenid glass phiale Iran, circa 5th-early 4th Century B.C.

The pale, shallow, greenish glass bowl was produced by the lost wax casting method then ground and polished. It has a flaring rim and is decorated with twelve projecting tear-shaped lobes, interspersed with twelve elongated petals.
The bowl comes from an English private collection that acquired it in the 1950s and passed it down through the family.

These luxury vessels, made in the finest quality colourless glass, derived their forms from Achaemenid silver and bronze pieces, and were specially made in imitation of highly prized rock crystal.

The largest collection of Persian glass known, consisting of twenty-four vessels, including a phiale was recovered between 1931 and 1934 from the palace treasury at Persepolis, the royal residence that was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.
A similar bowl to the one just sold by Bonhams is preserved in the Hermitage collection in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Category: Antiques

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