Plate Decorated with a Figure Seated on a Couch in a Crescent and a Figure Standing in an Archway from Klimova


On June 8th, 1907, Kseniia Fedorovna Klimova found five vessels– a bucket, a plate decorated with a rosette (which she described as the bucket’s lid) and three other plates– in a pit along a trail between the villages of Klimova (Климова) and Bol’shaia Serva (Большая Серва) in the Solikamskii County (Соликамский Уезд) of the Perm Governorate (Пермская Губерния) of the Russian Empire. A few days later, on June 16th, Petr Kirillovich Klimov (not her husband, perhaps related) found another three vessels in a different pit along the same trail (Trever and Lukonin 1987, 125). The pits were extremely close to one another on a terrace known as Niur-Gep (Darkevich 1976, 23). In exchange for 400 and 500 rubles, respectively, the Perm Gubernator sent the vessels to the Imperial archaeological Commission in August (Trever and Lukonin 1987, 125). The Commission then gave the eight vessels found near Klimova to the Imperial Hermitage Museum in 1908. This plate is still housed in the renamed State Hermitage Museum with the number S-43.

In the 1960s Vasilii Leshchenko located this terrace which is about 1 kilometer east of Dzerzhinskaia Street in Kudymkar), and 1 kilometer north of Klimova, then an outer neighborhood of Kudymkar. Klimova fell off of map labels ca. 2000. Klimova– now within Kudymkar– is located in the Kudymkarskii District (Кудымкарский Район), Perm Province/Krai (Пермский край), Russian Federation.

*This plate’s imagery of an architectural structure on wheels pulled by oxen has led scholars to numerous theories about what is depicted (a kingly enthronement, a moon god, or a clock of some kind) and subsequently how they ‘name’ the plate. The plate is most often called the ‘Clock/Dial of Khusrow’ despite few scholars agreeing with the clock theory and, furthermore, attributing it to a Sasanian workshop. For a summary of these theories, see Harper and Meyers 1981, 115-119.

Inscription & Other Marking Notes

There appears to be runes (?) on the base of the vessel. See images in Smirnov 1909.

Technical Notes

silver with gilding / 21.6 cm diameter / 793.2 g weight

For an in-depth technical analysis, see Trever and Lukonin 1987, Tablitsa XI, s. 143; Harper and Meyers 1981, p. 181, Pl. 35.

Major Eurasian Silver Publications

Harper, Prudence Oliver, and Pieter Meyers. Silver Vessels of the Sasanian Period. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, published in association with Princeton University Press, 1981. [Pl. 35]

Marshak, B. I. Istoriia vostochnoi torevtiki III-XIII vv. i problemy kul’turnoi preemstvennosti. Saint Petersburg: Akademiia Issledovaniia Kul’tury, 2017. [ris. 195]

Marshak (Marschak), B. I. Silberschätze des Orients: Metallkunst des 3.-13. Jahrhunderts und Ihre Kontinuität. Leipzig: E.A. Seemann, 1986. [№ 195]

Orbeli, I. A., and K. V. Trever. Sasanidskii metall khudozhestvennye predmenty iz zolota, serebra, i bronzy. Moscow-Leningrad: Akademiia, 1935. [T. 19]

Smirnov, Ia. I. Vostochnoe serebro: atlasʺ drevnei serebrianoi i zolotoi posudy vostochnago proiskhozhdeniia naidennoi preimushchestvenno vʺ prědelakhʺ Rossiiskoi imperii. Saint Petersburg: Publishing House of the Imperial Archaeological Commission, 1909. [T. CXXI № 306]

Trever, K. V., and V. G. Lukonin. Sasanidskoe serebro: sobranie Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha: khudozhestvenniia kul’tura Irana III-VIII vekov. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1987. [T. 29-31 № 15]

Additional Bibliography

Herzfeld, Ernst. “Sie sasanidischen Quadrigae solis et lunae.” Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran II (1930): 128–31.

Herzfeld, Ernst. “Der Thron des Khusro.” Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen XLI (1920): 103–47.

Overlaet, Bruno, ed. Splendeur des Sassanides: l’empire perse entre Rome et la Chine, 224-642. Brussels: Musées royaux d’art et d’histoire, 1993.

Otchet Imperatorskoi Arkheologicheskoi Komissii za 1907. Saint Petersburg: Tipografiia glavnogo upravleniia udelov, 1910.

Image Credits

Featured Image

K. V. Trever and V. G. Lukonin, Sasanidskoe serebro: sobranie Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha: khudozhestvenniia kul’tura Irana III-VIII vekov (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1987), T. 29.

Page Images

(1) State Hermitage Museum Website

(2-4) K. V. Trever and V. G. Lukonin, Sasanidskoe serebro: sobranie Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha: khudozhestvenniia kul’tura Irana III-VIII vekov (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1987), T. 29-31.