The cows of the Moon’s chariot are being pulled by Apam-Napāt
Silver-gilt plate, Bonhams
A Sasanian gilt silver dish
Circa 7th-8th Century A.D.
Of shallow rounded form with sloping sides, set on a low ring base, the interior worked in shallow relief to show a figure standing within a crescent, set above a wheeled covered platform, an archer standing beneath the arched canopy, a pair of winged zebu's harnessed to the platform pulling it in opposite directions, one zebu from each pair looking backwards, a winged cherub on either side of the crescent, 9¼in (23.6cm) diam
Provenance: Surena Collection, London, late 1970s-early 1980s.
Literature: It has been suggested that this plate may originate from eastern Iran, outside Sasanian Iran due to the unusual stylistic nature of the decoration.
Similar iconography can be seen on a plate in the Hermitage, inv. S-43, found in Russia in the early 20th Century.
Cf. B. Overlaet (ed.), Hofkunst van de Sassanieden, Exhibition Catalogue, Brussels, 1993, no. 66, pp. 212-3.
The figure in the crescent is thought to depict Makh, the god of the moon, whilst the archer standing on the platform/wagon is thought to represent the sun.
Other interpretations have suggested that it depicts the throne of Khosrow II.
Bonhams, London. Auction 19961, Lot 177, 25 Apr 2012.
Referenced as Fig. 26 – The cows of the Moon chariot pulled by Apam-Napāt in The Vocabulary and Syntax of Iconography in Sasanian Iran by Abolala Soudavar
Gilt Silver plate (Sale Catalog, Boisgirard, Drouot, 1-6-07, lot 63)
p15: As Lord of the night, Apam-Napāt is in fact the driving force behind all night elements, including the Moon.
Two silver plates (one at the Hermitage and one recently offered for sale, fig. 26),
in which the cows of the Moon’s chariot are being pulled by an Eros-type Apam-Napāt, reemphasize the nocturnal powers of this deity.
See also 'Khusraw’s Dial'. A Sassanid (or Islamic) Dish with Enthronement Scene, Klimova, c.7th Century AD, State Hermitage Museum, St. Pertersburg S-43
Back to Sasanian and Central Asian Plates
Other Persian Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers