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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Archive : Achaemenid clear glass ribbed bowl
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Achaemenid clear glass ribbed bowl - SF.299
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 500 BC to 400 BC
Dimensions: 2.6" (6.6cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: Near Eastern
Medium: Glass

Location: Great Britain
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Achaemenid clear glass luxury vessel - SF.299 Origin: Central Asia Circa: 500 to 400 BC  Dimensions: Height 2.6" (6.6cm) x Diameter 5" (12.7cm) The Achaemenid Empire (559 -330 BC) was one of the most dynamic and historically significant socio-political entities of the first millennium BC. Initially based on the region later known as Persia, territorial borders extended eastwards and also well into the Mediterranean region, where they were the notable foe of ancient Greeks. The historical founder of the empire was Cyrus the Great and under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean and the Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.  Under his successors, the empire eventually stretched at its maximum extent from parts of the Balcan Peninsula (Bulgaria-Peonia and Thrace- Macedonia) and Eastern Europe proper in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, as far as the Hindu Kush in present-day Afghanistan. Darius, defeated at the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, led the Achaemenids back to Asia Minor where they attempted to consolidate the remains of their power. While successful in his lifetime, the court and empire returned to their usual downward cycle until the death in 330 BC of the last of the Achaemenid dynasty, Darius III, at the hands of his own subjects. The cultural achievements of the Achaemenids were considerable, for although somewhat despotic in the technical sense, free trade and social tolerance went to provide a comparatively enlightened environment in which the arts flourished. The economy was extremely robust, fuelled by Darius’ introduction of a stable gold currency, and a well-maintained road system allowed the spread of trade, luxury items and ideas. As a result the artists and craftsmen of the time were extremely attuned to neighbouring and distant polities, and were able to produce a wide variety of elite items such as this amazing glass vessel. Achaemenid period luxury drinking glass bowls and other vessel types of cast clear glass present the same shapes and decorations as their contemporary metal parallels. Such isolated finds of clear and/or engraved glass are known to be a regular product of workshops serving the Achaemenid court and aristocracy, produced in a standard repertory of forms, usually copying the shapes of tableware manufactured in precious metals and archaeological finds from Persepolis illustrate this magnificent form of art, usually produced in a few centres closely associated with royal residences. - (SF.299)


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