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Naqš-i Rustam


One of the two Elamite reliefs at Naqš-i Rustam. Photo Jona Lendering. Naqš-i Rustam: archaeological site in Fars (Iran), best known for its Achaemenid tombs and Sasanian rock reliefs.
   
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The Elamite Relief

The oldest monument at Naqš-i Rustam is not fully understood but believed to be Elamite in origin and may date to the eighth century BCE. The original relief was considerably larger but a very large part of it was later removed when the Sasanian king Bahram II ordered to making of his audience relief. A small figure with a remarable cap, vaguely resembling a dwarf, is still visible. It is to the right of Bahram's relief.
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One of the two Elamite reliefs at Naqš-i Rustam. Photo Jona Lendering.
A second detail is the head of a woman wearing a mural crown, to the left of Bahram's relief. Although the identity of the lady is unknown, her mural crown is a common theme in the art of the ancient Near East. These crowns were usually worn by queens, and the lady of Naqš-i Rustam must also be a royal consort. (Mural crowns would later be introduced into Hellenistic art, became a Roman decoration, and finally became of the western artistic legacy, gracing the coat of arms of countless European cities.) 

The Elamite snake throne at Naqš-i Rustam. Photo Patric Charlot.
There is also a much older relief below Bahram's monument, where two gods are visible, seated on a snake-shaped throne. This relief is believed to date back to the seventeenth century BCE, and is, therefore, the most ancient monument of Naqš-i Rustam.

Literature

Louis Vanden Berghe, Reliefs rupestres de l' Iran ancien (1983 Brussels), #18 and 19.


History Photos
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 18 Nov. 2009
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