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Plate
5th-7th century

Sasanian period

Silver and gilt
Iran

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This complex scene, which decorates the interior of a shallow plate, testifies to the lively cultural interaction that took place between the eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia in the first millennium. In the center, the Greek god Dionysos (depicted here with female-like breasts) sits nexts to the princess Ariadne; to the right stands the hero Herakles. The plate depicts the triumphal arrival of the Greek god Dionysos in India. A popular subject of Roman imperial art, it was later depicted over a wide area of the Byzantine Empire in textiles, gemstones, and metalwork, and transferred through such portable media to neighboring Sasanian Iran.