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April 11    Scripture

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Ancient Persia : Pictures and Photos

Ancient Persian Inscription IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam Close-up of an ancient Persian Inscription on the Rock Panel between the Tombs of Darius I and Xerxes

Beaker With Geometric Designs And Birds Archaeologists working in Iran at the site of Tepe Giyan during 1931 and 1932 excavated 119 burials dating to five successive periods. Among the vessels characteristic of the Giyan II Period were ones whose decoration combined geometric patterns with representations of small suns and birds. This beaker, acquired by the archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld prior to the 1930's excavations, thus can be dated by its decoration to Giyan II.

Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions IRAN: Persepolis - Detail of the Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions, Found in the Treasury.

COLOSSAL BULL HEAD Carved in the court style typical of the Achaemenid Empire, this highly polished stone head originally belonged to one of two guardian bulls flanking the portico of the hundred-columned Throne Hall at Persepolis. The heads of the bulls projected in the round and the bodies were carved in relief on the sidewalls of the porch; the ears and horns had been added separately. The use of pairs of guardian figures such as these to protect important buildings was a common architectural feature in the ancient Near East.

Detail of the Guard - Darius Tomb IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I. Detail of the Guard on the Left Frame.

DISC-HEADED PIN Large numbers of decorated disc-headed pins were found in the sanctuary at Surkh Dum-i-Luri. They may have been votive offerings to a fertility goddess or, on analogy with a modern ethnographic parallel, deposits verifying wedding contracts among nomadic peoples moving through the area. The decoration of this example, with an eight-petaled central rosette and surrounding borders of smaller rosettes and punctate patterns, is typical. The tiny incised lion's (?) head faces away from the shaft because the pins were worn with the head hanging down and the shaft pointing up.

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FOUNDATION SLAB OF XERXES This stone tablet inscribed with Babylonian cuneiform characters lists the nations under Persian rule shortly after the uprisings that occurred when Xerxes came to the throne. Although the tablet was intended as a foundation deposit to be placed beneath a corner of one of Xerxes' buildings, it apparently was never used. It was found, along with other tablets bearing the same text in Old Persian and Elamite, employed as the facing of a mud brick bench in the garrison quarters at Persepolis.

FRIEZE OF STRIDING LIONS An Achaemenid artisan carved this piece of stone to represent part of a cloth canopy that was decorated with woven or appliquéd figures of rosettes and striding lions. Remnants of crenellations on the top of the block indicate that it belonged to the uppermost row of stones. The fringe along the lower edge, representing knotted cords ending in tassels, was partly chipped away in ancient times, perhaps before the stone was reused in the balustrade of a small stairway east of Darius' residential palace.

Iran Bull Head This dark grey limestone bull head, over six feet tall, was one of a pair of statues which flanked the entrance to the Throne Hall at Persepolis. The body of the bull, which was carved in relief on the wall of the portico, was left at the site. In preparation for its installation in the gallery, the subfloor was reinforced, and "I" beams were installed to support its weight.

Iran Double Bull Capital Double bull capital from Persepolis, as restored by sculptor Donato Bastiani. This column capital once supported a roof beam in the Apadana of Darius I (521-486 B.C.).

Iran Persepolis - Cuneiform Tablets

Iran Persepolis - Seals and Seal Impressions

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Air View.

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Cliff with Royal Tombs In Foreground, the Excavated Fortification Wall.

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I Relief of Aspathines on the Left Frame.

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam Environs - a Shrine

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam Environs - Vaulted Tomb IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam Environs - Vaulted Tomb Hewn into a Boulder.

IRAN: Persepolis - Apadana

IRAN: Persepolis - Council Hall

IRAN: Persepolis - Gate Of Xerxes

IRAN: Persepolis - Harem of Xerxes

IRAN: Persepolis - Palace of Darius

IRAN: Persepolis - Palace Of Xerxes

IRAN: Persepolis - Throne Hall

IRAN: Persepolis - Tomb of Artaxerxes II (Tomb V), Upper Register and Entablature of Lower Register.

IRAN: Persepolis - Tomb of Artaxerxes II Upper Register, Showing Throne Bearers.

IRAN: Persepolis - Tomb of Artaxerxes II, Left Vault.

IRAN: Persepolis - Treasury

IRAN: Persepolis - Unfinished Tomb of Darius III General View with Persepolis Terrace in the Distance.

IRAN: Persepolis: Contents of the Treasury and Other Discoveries


KRATER WITH IBEXES The geographical term "Susiana," referring to the area ruled in the historical period by the city of Susa, is also applied to the prehistoric cultures of lowland southwestern Iran. Representational designs such as the stylized wild goats with long sweeping horns painted beneath the rim of this krater are characteristic for an advanced stage of the Susiana sequence.

PAINTED BOWL Many of the pottery vessels from the site of Tall-i-Bakun in the plain of Persepolis show a highly sophisticated use of negative designs in conjunction with more usual painted patterns. On this bowl, two patterns alternate in rhythmic sequence. One is a painted design of anthropomorphic inspiration with a "head" flanked by upraised "arms" facing both the rim and base of the bowl. The other pattern, which is given in negative by the buff surface of the vessel, consists of a cross and two lozenges.

Painted Jar This handmade vessel has a lozenge pattern on the shoulder painted in black on a plum-red burnished surface. This type of ware and decoration are characteristic of a phase in the development of Iranian civilization on the central plateau that is often called "Cheshmeh Ali" after a site of that name near Tehran.

Pasargadae - Close-up View of the Tomb of Cyrus IRAN: Pasargadae - Close-up View of the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.

Persepolis - Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions IRAN: Persepolis - Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions, Found in the Treasury

Persepolis - Unfinished Tomb of Darius III Showing Partly Completed Reliefs on the Facade.

PERSIAN ROUNDEL This snarling winged lion worked in gold repoussé attests to the exceptional skill of Achaemenid goldsmiths. The back of the horned feline's body and the slender twisted cord that surrounds it bear sixteen tiny loops for attachment to a garment or textile. Greek writers often speak of the tremendous wealth of the Persians, and Herodotus writes that King Xerxes' troops "were adorned with the greatest magnificence...they glittered all over with gold, vast quantitites of which they wore about their persons" (vii.83).

Ram Statuette - Headed God Harsaphes IRAN: Persepolis - Bronze Patinated Statuette of the Upper Part of the Ram. Headed God Harsaphes, Front View, Found Near the Entrance of the Treasury.

Relief of Gobryas (Darius Tomb) IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I. Relief of Gobryas on the Left Frame, Top Register.

Relief of Gobryas, Head and Inscription -Darius Tomb IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I. Relief of Gobryas, Close-up of Head and Inscription Above, Top Register.

Sculpture of a Persian's Head IRAN: Persepolis - Baked Clay Sculpture of a Persian's Head Front View, Found Near NE Corner of the Terrace.

Sculpture of a Persian's Head (Side View) IRAN: Persepolis - Baked Clay Sculpture of a Persian's Head. Side View, Found Near NE Corner of the Terrace.

SPOUTED GRAY-WARE PITCHER Around 1200 B.C. monochrome wares were introduced in many parts of Iran and replaced the earlier painted pottery. These new, frequently burnished, wares occur in both a reddish-orange and a dark gray variety. The gray wares, of which this long-spouted pitcher is a characteristic example, were given their color by special firing in an oxygen-reducing atmosphere. They appear to have been ceramic imitations of metal vessels.

Tomb of Artaxerxes I IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Artaxerxes I. Top Register, Showing King, God, Fire Altar, and Throne Bearers, with Weapon Bearers and Guard on Left Frame.

Tomb of Darius I, Close-up of King and God. IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I, Close-up of King and God.

Tomb of Darius II (Tomb IV) IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius II (Tomb IV). General View with the Tower in the Left Foreground.

Tomb of Xerxes IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam. Tomb of Xerxes (Tomb II), General View

Two Bronze Horses IRAN: Persepolis - Two Bronze Horses from the Portico of the Throne Hall.

View of the Tomb of Darius the Great. IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - View of the Tomb of Darius the Great.

Xerxes and Fire Altar IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam. Tomb of Xerxes, King, God, and Fire Altar in the Top Register.