Home > Collections > Ancient Near East
Spouted vessel with gazelle protome
ca. 500-300 B.C.E.

Achaemenid period

Earthenware and paint
H: 28.3 W: 11.7 D: 18.1 cm
Iran or Turkey

Gift of Arthur M. Sackler S1987.31

Enlarge this image | Purchase this image

The drinking vessel with a protome (forepart) in the shape of an animal's head was a traditional form in ancient Iran. This example illustrates the combination of forming techniques that potters often used on a single vessel. Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Materials Research and Education used a radiographic imaging technique called xeroradiography to examine the construction of this vessel. They were able to determine that the beaker portion of the vessel was built using strips or coils of clay, whereas the animal's head was modeled by hand.