Parthian Silver Gilt Rhyton with a Protome of a Lynx, 1st century B.C.E. Silver gilt, H. 44 cm. © Miho Museum
The lynx's body is decorated with vine and grape motifs, clearly indicating a deep relationship with the rites of Dionysus. And we know that the mystery of Dionysus included ritual vessels featuring this kind of hunting cat, such as a leopard or lynx. Similar examples in the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Sackler Gallery have the same kind of hair depiction on the animals' body, and a spiral motif on their shoulders. The curling hair motif on the lynxes on cat. Nos. 29 and 30 are not the same kind of motif. The lynx violently plunging and capturing the bird in such amazingly life-like form that we can almost feel the bird's surprise. A Greek craftsman with unparalleled skill created this motif which, in fact, originated in west Asia.