SILVER BEAKER WITH WINGED LIONS
A medium size silver vessel beautifully decorated with guilloche consisting mainly in two figurative registers. The upper frieze depicts three advancing winged lions with rosettes between. The detail of the feathers, paws and mouth are all finely incised. The lower frieze depicts three birds interposed with rosettes. Both ends are covered with decorative interlacing friezes and another thin decorative frieze separates the two figurative scenes.
After liberating themselves from the Medes in 5550 BC, Acheamenids founded their clan. It was founded by Cyrus II the Great who reigned over the immense Persian Empire consisting of Babylonia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Lebanon and stretched south into Saudi Arabia and east to Afghanistan. The representation of an hybrid monster looking as a ‘winged lion’ recalls of the glazed bricks from Darius the Great’s palace (522-486 B.C.) in Susa and today exhibited at the Louvre. In Babylonia, the winged lions with human heads were viewed as protective spirits. Although there are still questions surrounding the significance of these fantastical creatures, it is believed that they evoked old Elamite cult worship and is thus a part of the heritage of the Persian Empire.