Silver of the Achaemenid & Sassanid Empires:
The First Persian Empire was based in Western Asia, founded by Cyrus the Great, its duration lasted from 550-330 BC. This period was also known as the Achaemenid Empire and had one of the highest global populations of any empire, at its peak. The empire spanned from Indus Valley to Northern Greece and from Central Asia to Egypt. Ancient art in Persia has been a massive influence on the arts and culture of the region and it was during the Achaemenid Dynasty era that the first upsurge of Persian art occurred. Despite a lull in its popularity during the Parthian Era (c.250 BC), The Sassanaid Period saw an outstanding period of Persian Art. These artists crafted a range of gold and silver dishes stunningly decorated with animals and scenes of hunting. Sasanian luxury art were produced from precious and semi-precious stones, silks and glass vessels. In Iran and Mesopotamia finely crafted silver vessels were produced in large amounts. These were renowned Sasanian silverware. The silver would be hammered into shape and the decorative designs would be produced by using varying techniques. Due to the trading that took place via sea and land routes connections were made and production of these silver vessels took place in and became established in Central Asia. Many silver pieces were also decorated with the scenes of the ancient Persian state religion, Zoroastriansim. Many of these scenes detailed the Seasons, which appeared on many pouring vessels suggesting that they had a link to ceremonial meanings within the Zoroastriansim religion. In Iran and Mesopotamia finely crafted silver vessels were produced in large amounts. These were renowned Sasanian silverware. The silver would be hammered into shape and the decorative designs would be produced by using varying techniques. Moving onto more recent times, the crafts of Isfahan have ensured its maintained its position as the major centre for crafts in Persia. Isfahan has always held a major prominence in metal work, in particular decorative metal work. During the second half of the 20th century the market demands saw a major shift in interest towards silver work.