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The Shapur Plate: From Sasanian Iran to the Freer Gallery of Art

Tribute Bearers


Exchanging gifts was an ancient royal practice, one meant to establish good relationships between neighbors and to maintain control over vassal states. Silver vessels with images of kings or royal hunting scenes were often sent to regional princes or neighboring rulers as diplomatic gifts. Such objects have been found in Central Asian paintings, in European treasuries, and in recently excavated tombs in China. In return, the Sasanians received luxury goods as gifts and trade items, and in the process they created a complex network of artistic and diplomatic exchange.

Feasting and Food »

Get here quick! The Freer Gallery closes for renovation on January 4, 2016, so we can better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler Gallery remains open and as dynamic as ever. Check out asia.si.edu/future to learn more and plan your trip.