Stag Rhyton

Object Details

Title:

Stag Rhyton

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Near Eastern (Parthian)

Place(s):

Eastern Seleucid Empire (Place created)

Date:

about 50 B.C. - A.D. 50

Medium:

Gilt silver, garnet, glass

Dimensions:

27.5 x 12.7 x 46 cm (10 13/16 x 5 x 18 1/8 in.)

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The forepart of a stag emerges from the curving body of this gilt silver rhyton. The stag is very naturalistic and highly detailed, down to the rendering of veins in the snout. The wide inlaid eyes and the outstretched legs heighten the realism as the stag seemingly bolts in flight. The term rhyton comes from the Greek verb meaning "to run through," and depictions of rhyta on Greek vases show that they were used to aerate wine. Wine poured into the top of the vessel came out of a spout between the animal's legs. The spout on this example is now missing, but the hole remains visible. Stylistic features suggest that this rhyton was made in northwest Iran in the period from 50 B.C. to A.D. 50. This region had been part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire until Alexander the Great's conquest. After his death in 323 B.C., the Hellenistic Greek Seleucid dynasty, whose kingdom stretched from Turkey to Afghanistan, ruled this area. As Seleucid authority began to weaken In the later 200s B.C., a group of semi-nomadic people called the Parthians, from the steppes of south central Asia, challenged the dynasty and by the mid-100s B.C. had firm control of this area of Iran. This complicated political history left its legacy in the art of the area. Rhyta of this form had a long history in earlier art of Iran, but the floral motifs were drawn from Seleucid art.

Provenance
- 1986

Maurice Tempelsman (New York, New York), sold through Robin Symes (London, England) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.

Exhibitions
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1986." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 15 (1987) pp. 164-165, no. 21.

"Museum Acquisitions and Notes," Bulletin of the Asia Institute 5 (1991) pp. 188-89.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991) p. 58.

Pfrommer, Michael. Metalwork from the Hellenized East. Catalogue of the Collections. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1993. cover color photo; pp. 192-93, no. 74.

Penny, Nicholas. The Materials of Sculpture. New Haven: 1993. pl. 223.

Boardman, John. Greek Art. 3rd ed. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996. fig. 284.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 59.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 70.

Invernizzi, Antonio. Sculture di metallo da Nisa. Cultura greca e cultura iranica in Partia. Acta Iranica, Textes et Memoires 21. Leuven, Belgium: 1999. pp. 143, 147; pl. 20:a.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001) pp. 58-59.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 97.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) p. 38, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010) p. 97.