Bowl with Leaf Calyx Medallion

Unknown2nd–1st century B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

A star formed with acanthus and long, pointed leaves emerging from a rosette decorates the interior of this silver bowl. Just below the lip, a frieze of stepped battlements encircles the interior.

Iran was part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire until Alexander the Great conquered it. After Alexander's death in 323 B.C., the Hellenistic Greek Seleucid dynasty, whose kingdom stretched from Turkey to Afghanistan, ruled this area. In the later 200s B.C., the Parthians, a group of semi nomadic people from the steppes of south central Asia, began challenging the weakened Seleucid regime. By the mid 100s B.C., the Parthians had firm control of this area of Iran.

Throughout these political changes, artists retained stylistic traits of earlier regimes. Although probably made in a time of established Parthian control, this bowl incorporates elements of Achaemenid Persian and Hellenistic Greek art in its decoration. The leaf calyx was one of the most popular motifs in Hellenistic metalwork, and the stepped battlement pattern was a common motif in Achaemenid art.


  • Title: Bowl with Leaf Calyx Medallion
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2nd–1st century B.C.
  • Location Created: Eastern Hellenistic Empire
  • Physical Dimensions: 4.9 × 19.8 cm, 0.2607 kg (1 15/16 × 7 13/16 in., 9/16 lb.)
  • Type: Bowl
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Silver with gilding
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 81.AM.84.6
  • Culture: Near Eastern (Parthian)
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Vessels (Containers)

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