5th c., gold, amber, glass Ar
D: U·5 cm; H: (max) 5.2 cm; wt: 233 g.
From Bratoliubivs'kyi Kurhan, near village of Ol'hyno, Hornostaivs'kyi Raion, Khersons'ka Oblast'.
The outside of the phiale is decorated with six horse heads in left profile and in high relief. They move in rotation around a circular domed insert of amber, riveted on the inside. The animals have short cropped manes, flared nostrils, and open mouths revealing upper and lower teeth. Decorative discs (phalerae) are seen at the juncture of the browband and throatlatch, at the juncture of the noseband and cheekpiece, and between the eyes on the strip that extends from browband to noseband. The horses' eyes were accentuated with blue glass insets, only one of which survives. The leather straps and metal parts of their bridles, including the reins, are indicated in relief. Separately soldered strips, some of which have broken away, form each cheekpiece and the adjacent section of rein. On the rim is a ring for attaching the vessel to a belt.
The lines of the horses' necks and reins form a pinwheel design that reinforces the whirling dynamic of the heads. This preference for rotation is characteristically Scythian and is also seen on the horse frontlet (cat. no. 48) The bowl was made by hammering a single sheet of gold into what Treister concludes was a single matrix employed six times. The size and plasticity of the phiale are such that the vessel fits superbly into the palm of the hand.
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