Lower part of a rhyton with bull head
L 14 cm, W 10.5 cm
Clay, carved, engobe, fired
State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Additional Research Metadata
A rhyton is a vessel in the form of a curved horn with a small opening, used to decant wine. It was usually employed at feasts and rhytons can be seen, for instance, on the stone Gandhāran relief from Butkara (modern Pakistan) and in fragments of a mural with feasting artists from Panjikent (Cat.116). Rhytons have been found across the Old World but they were particularly popular in the Iranian world. They were made of ivory, precious metals and clay, and their tips were decorated with real or fantastical beasts. One also finds various characters on the body of such vessels, sometimes united in narrative scenes, as on the celebrated rhytons from the Parthian capital Nisa (now in Turkmenistan; see fig. 1 on p.43). The Hermitage piece imitates metal models, repeating details typical of metalwork such as the rounded mouldings, ring-shaped applied decorations and incisions.
Before 1917, Middle Asia
Melikian-Chirvani 1996, pp.85–139, fig.16