• latw-161-1
    Silver alabastron. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)
  • latw-161-2
    Silver alabastron. Detail of figural frieze. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)
  • latw-161-3
    Silver alabastron. Detail of ornamental bands and duck-head lug. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)

Silver alabastron

First half of the sixth century BC, Lydian
Uşak, Archaeological Museum, 1.1.89
Inventory No.
Object Type
Metalwork Type
Metal Vessel
Basmacı Tumulus
The body of the alabastron is divided into alternately decorated and undecorated zones by six ornamental bands. The uppermost band contains evenly spaced circles with central dot, bordered below by a narrower band of hatching. The second band contains a zigzag with hatching at top and bottom, in opposed directions, framed between two narrow plain bands. The third and fourth bands contain a row of hatched triangles between two narrow plain bands; the hatched triangles of the third band point up, those of the fourth band are suspended from the upper border. In the fifth band is a simple meander-like pattern, with horizontal hatching on the vertical bar and vertical hatching on the horizontal bar, the pattern framed by two narrow dotted bands. The sixth band contains a row of dots framed by two narrow plain bands. The first and fifth registers are decorated with geometric designs, and in the third register is a frieze of animals and horsemen. In the uppermost register is a series of pendant triangles with hatched borders, and in the fifth zone is a row of 10 bordered rays, point up, with hatching alternately in the centers and the borders. The figural frieze of the third register features two mounted figures and two pairs of lions, one of each pair attacking a bull, and the other a goat. The mounted figures are confronted, the horses rearing up on their hind legs. The lions attacking the bulls have heads shown in profile, with spotted face, eyes shown as a lozenge with overlapping corners, mane indicated by groups of short vertical lines, and body covered with more widely spaced short bands. The lions attacking the goats are shown frontal, with cross-hatched mane and circular spots on body. The bulls have right foreleg bent back, left bent forward, spotted body and several closely spaced wrinkle lines around the neck; along the ridge of the back is a hatched spine, like that of a boar. The goats have short curling hatched tail and groups of hairs on body; both forelegs are bent back and head held upside down, with horns marked by two pairs of short lines. At opposite sides of the vessel, in the uppermost zone, are two duck-head lugs with engraved plumage and facial markings, covered, apart from the beak, with gold foil that picks up the details worked on the head; some of the foil has broken away. Just below the shoulder, the alabastron is encircled by a vertically ribbed gold band, and there is a similarly decorated narrower band encircling the edge of the rim. The alabastron was probably made in more than one part, the joins masked by the gold bands. Inside the neck is a separate reinforcing cylinder, as with no. 75, and the alabastron was found complete with its plain flat-topped stopper. Around the neck were two wires, joined to a circular tab at one side from which projected two vertically aligned wire rings, presumably from hanging the vessel.

The ornamental bands and the duck-head lugs suggest that this alabastron was a product of the same tradition, possibly the same workshop (although perhaps of an earlier date) that produced the examples from İkiztepe (Özgen and Öztürk 1996, nos. 75-78). No. 78 also features lions attacking bulls in one of its figural friezes, although the animals are not executed in the same way” (Özgen and Öztürk 1996). Height 0.156 m, diameter at rim 0.033 m, diameter of body 0.062 m, weight 148.95 g.

Baughan, “Burial Customs”; Özgen, “Lydian Treasure”
Özgen and Öztürk 1996, no. 228.