< Back

The Many Lives of the Silver Saiga Rhyton in The Met


This essay traces the relatively recent lives of a 6th- to 8th-century CE gilt silver rhyton in the shape of a saiga antelope head now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In the early 18th century, a plowman discovered the rhyton in a hoard near present-day Khoniakiv (Хоняків), Ukraine. The vessel remained in the landowner’s family, relatively close to the findspot, as an heirloom for four generations. In the late 19th century, it changed hands and began traveling around Europe for art exhibitions. The rhyton eventually moved across the Atlantic in the early interwar period. In New York City, the art dealers Joseph and Imre Brummer added the rhyton to their collection before the Metropolitan Museum of Art eventually acquired it in 1947.


Betty Hensellek, “The Many Lives of the Silver Saiga Rhyton in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” in Essays on the Art of Ancient West and Central Asia Presented to Prudence Oliver Harper, edited by B. Hensellek, J. A. Lerner & H. Colburn (Forthcoming from Turnhout: Brepols, 2021)