A medium-sized, perfectly circular phiale, with a low wall. The body is hollow with a very flared rim; it was hammered from a single, thin sheet of silver.
The decoration was entirely carried out in repoussé work, chased from inside and/or outside: it is composed of a central medallion (the omphalos) surrounded by a stem of half-moons alternately surmounted by five lotus flowers and five ovolo patterns.
Phialai are among the most common and ancient forms of the Eastern repertory, largely adopted by Greek workshops in the Classic period, which in turn influenced Roman artists.
Mainly made of silver, but also sometimes of bronze and of gold, such phialai exist in different formal variations, with a more or less shallow or wide body, and in various sizes. Sometimes plain and undecorated, they were generally decorated with grooves, friezes of palmettes and ovola moldings, figural scenes, and so on. The importance of this luxury tableware is attested by the Persepolis reliefs, where some of the dignitaries of the different regions represented offer as gifts to the Persian Great King several precious vessels, some of which resemble our phiale.