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Vessel in the form of a jar with a honeycomb pattern
Sasanians workshop; Anonymous
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Sasanians workshop

Vessel in the form of a jar with a honeycomb pattern

VI century. Enamel, Bloodstone, Gold, Ruby Room 079B

Vessel formed by two pieces of heliotrope and seven gold mounts enamelled in white with touches of black. It has a somewhat flattened globular body, a short cylindrical neck, a round mouth, and two monolithic handles. The whole belly is decorated in the style of ancient vases in what has been called a honeycomb pattern. The cover, which can be removed, has a finial of foliage with a pineapple. There is another mount on the edge, with a row of leaves and cords, and two on the handles, masking their original appearance, with eight rubies on the fixtures of the handles. The foot is formed by another mount of cords and foliage. On the body are two fleurons with large rubies. The asymmetrical carving and some irregularities seem to be evidence of its antiquity. The pattern of honeycomb cells, inspired by Roman models in precious metals and glass, is possibly mediaeval and may indicate a provenance in the Middle East, with volumes related to Sasanian products of similar proportions.

This style of decoration appears frequently on Sasanian glassware, having been transmitted from the classical to the Muslim world via Byzantium. Decorations with honeycomb cells are found on mediaeval European vases, such as the rock crystal “Eleanor of Aquitaine vase” now in the Louvre, MR 340. In Spain, there is a silver and crystal bowl at León Cathedral with a decoration of concave circles and a handle with dolphins and a mask crowned by a ring.

Two of the fleurons that were on the body, with feuillages and rubies at their centre, went missing in about 1815.

The Museo del Prado has the photograph by Juan Laurent y Minier Urne, jaspe sanguin, montures d’or, émaux et pierres précieuses, XVIe siècle, règne de Charles IX ou Henri III, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/33 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Inventory number
Sasanians workshop; Anonymous
Vessel in the form of a jar with a honeycomb pattern
VI century; Ca. 1680
Enamelled; Carved; Mounted / set
Enamel; Bloodstone; Gold; Ruby
Height: 15.8 cm.; Width: 11.2 cm.; Base/bottom: 8.6 cm.; Weight: 652 g.; Diameter of the base: 5.3 cm.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 91.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, El tesoro del Delfín: alhajas de Felipe V recibidas por herencia de su padre Luis, Gran Delfín de Francia, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 112-113.

Arbeteta, L. Azcue, L., El Tesoro del Delfín, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2018, 2018.

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 68.
Vaso, hechura de tivor

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 21-02-2020 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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