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Varxun (Alchons) Bowl


ca. 460 to 479 C.E.

Varxun (Alchons) Bowl


Swat District, Pakistan








Varxun (Alchons)

British Museum



Copyright Status

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Source of Image

"Silver bowl; thick-walled; cast; inscription; the top of the rim is gilded but the interior is plain; decorated exterior with left-facing profile male bust rising from a pair of wings in a plain central roundel medallion with three equidistant birds with gilded claws and ribbon scrolls, enclosed within a second roundel; vegetal scroll below the rim, with a narrative scene between, with four scenes of horsemen, with a tree at the beginning/end of the narrative; from left to right:

(1) mounted archer to the right, wearring earrings, drawing a composite bow with long ears to behind his head, wearing a long decorated tunic, gilded on the upper portion but decoration worn, lower part with geometric border, also a bangle on his right wrist and decorated belt with a pair of buckles, long and slightly tapered cylindrical quiver on his right thigh, feet pointing downwards, ribbons attached to footwear, decorated saddlecloth, pair of balloons attached to the rear of the soft saddle, knotted horse tail, prominent triangular arrowhead; plant below, partially abraded; three rams in front, one fallen, one leaping, the third leaping but with head reversed and a feathered arrow protruding from its neck;

(2) mounted archer to the left, same dress and appearance, shooting a similar bow behind at a crossed pair of rearing tigers, each facing the rider, with a tamga of punched dots in front of his face;

(3) mounted rider to the right, driving his spear into the head of a boar with a second boar rising to the right with reeds in the background; rider wearing a diadem crown with crescent and globe, tunic decoration clearer and includes epaulettes;

(4) mounted archer to the left, holding his bow aloft in his left hand, while slashing a long sword at a fallen lioness; also wearing a diadem crown with a crescent at the front; his sword has a distinctive pommel and rounded bulbous chape, with traces of gilding on the scabbard.

The hunter on the left is identical to the central bust and two are wearing crowns similar to late Kidarite coins."

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