Hammered from a single sheet of silver, this phiale is outstanding both for its quality and for its weight. All decorations were carried out in repoussé work.
The bottom is flat, but the sixteen lobes (ovolo moldings) in low relief are acting as small feet supporting the vessel (φιαλη, phialé in Greek); the central medallion is composed of a simple convex circle chased from outside, called omphalos.
An Achaemenid form, the phiale was introduced in the Greek world through the Anatolian kingdoms. As frequently attested by ancient iconography, these vessels were used mainly as ceremonial tableware, for libations or sacrifices: they contained the wine poured on the altar or on the floor as an offering to the deity, or the blood of the victim after a ritual involving a violent sacrifice.
As luxury items, they sometimes followed their owner in the tomb and were part, with other prized vessels, of the funerary furniture of civilian and military high officials.