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Stem Cup

A work made of silver with parcel gilt decoration.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver with parcel gilt decoration.


Tang dynasty (A.D. 618–907), 9th century



About this artwork

The form of this wine cup was inspired by goblets made in the Sasanian and Sogdian empires, but originally derived from Hellenistic styles of the Mediterranean world. Its low, spreading foot gently flares into faceted petals suggesting a lotus flower. Since the introduction of Buddhism to China, the lotus—which emerges unstained from muddy water and therefore carries associations of purity and non-attachment to worldly concerns—had become a pervasive motif in secular as well as religious art. Two layers of petals, beaten in repousse, enclose birds, floral sprays, and clusters of grapes—all delicately chased and gilded against a ringmatted ground. This mixture of native and imported decorative motifs, which followed the seventh-century introduction of grapevines and grape wine from Iranian and Turkic lands, is executed with a linear fluency that is distinctively Chinese.


On View, Gallery 105


Arts of Asia


Stem Cup


China (Artist's nationality)


618 CE–906 CE


Silver with parcel gilt decoration


4.8 × 7.8 cm (3 1/8 × 1 15/16 in.); Diam.: 4.9 cm (1 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. Russell Tyson

Reference Number


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