Bishapur: important Sasanian city in Iran, founded by king Shapur I, and built by Roman POWs.
Bishapur is famous for its six rock reliefs, but there is also a little-known small relief, which can be found in the local museum. Here are some photos. This relief perfectly fits within the context of the Sasanian rock reliefs, although it is much smaller and decorated the Eastern Mosaic Hall in the palace.
Below, we can see
- an unindentified cavalry man, not unlike the scene on the first relief in Firuzabad (cf. the picture top right);
- a battle on horseback, not unlike (again) the first relief in Firuzabad; the equestrian victory relief of Bahram II, the double equestrian relief of Bahram II, and the equestrian relief of Hormizd II (all three in Naqš-e Rustam);
- an investiture relief reminiscent of Firuzabad II, the investiture of Ardašir I in Naqš-e Rajab, the investiture relief of Narseh in Naqš-e Rustam, and the investiture relief of Shapur II in Taq-e Bostan;
- and finally some adoring courtiers, very much like the ones in the nearby Tang-e Chowgan gorge (relief two) and the equestrian relief of Shapur I in Naqš-e Rajab.
The artistic parallels are to the reigns of Ardašir I (r.224-241), Shapur I (r.241-272), Bahram II (r.276-293), Narseh (r.293-303), Hormizd II (r.303-309), and the beginning of the reign of Shapur II (r.309-379). This suggests that the small relief was made between 224 and about 330, although the most likely date is, of course, the reigh of Shapur I, who built Bishapur.