This bowl was excavated by E. Herzfield at the prehistoric site of Tall-i Bakun, a short distance south of the later site of Persepolis. Unlike slightly later pottery manufactured at Susa in south-western Iran, the local ceramic tradition was dominated by bowls with designs painted on the exterior. Motifs included bold spirals and heavily schematic figural designs such as human figures with bird-like heads. These are typical of the Sialk III period, which was contemporary with the Ubaid and Early Uruk cultures of Mesopotamia to the west. This period witnessed a high point in the development of prehistoric Iranian painted pottery. Later on mass-production of pottery resulted in a decline in painted decoration.