This dish is emblazoned with a bird-tailed dragon, the senmurv (or simurgh), a legendary Iranian beast, which combines the forms of a peacock, lion, griffin and dog, and was regarded as a creature of good omen.

'Sasanian' is the name given to the Iranian dynasty that was the dominant power in the Near East during the antique period and extended from Mesopotamia, to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Pakistan. This was the second work of Sasanian-style art to be added to the British Museum's collections with the support of the Art Fund.