Vessels of precious metal were widespread at this time. The horn-shaped rhyton terminating in an animal's head was a particularly distinctive form. This example has a griffin very like those on a large gold bracelet from the Oxus Treasure. While a wide variety of styles and forms existed thoughout the Achaemenid empire, because of its great size, there was also a recognizably Achaemenid court style. This was perhaps promoted outside Iran by satraps (provincial governors) and other representatives of the Persian court. This rhyton is an example of the art of the Achaemenid court.
Although vessels of this type were not depicted on the reliefs at the Persian centre of Persepolis, they are shown in use on Greek vases of the late fifth century BC, and indeed the form was copied by the Greek potters. Such vessels continued to be used after the end of the Achaemenid period.
St J. Simpson, 'Ancient Iran', British Museum Magazine: Th-20, 19 (1994)
D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
D.M. Wilson, The forgotten collector: Augus, The Walter Neurath Memorial Lectures 16 (London, Thames and Hudson, 1984)