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Naqš-i Rustam


A relief from Naqš-i Rustam, showing a magian. Photo Jona Lendering.
The Magian
Naqš-i Rustam: archaeological site in Fars (Iran), best known for its Achaemenid tombs and Sasanian rock reliefs.
   
History Photos

Other monuments

There are several smaller monuments at Naqš-i Rustam. For example, there is a basin, which was perhaps used for ritual purposes (below); there is a very small relief of a lion (below); and you can also see places where sculptors started to make reliefs, which they never finished (below). A bit west of the Investiture Relief of King Narseh is a minor relief, which is best visible in the early morning light. It shows a man with a cap, whose arms are raised up, as if he is praying. The type is also known from Dukkan-e Daud and Sakavand, and is usually called a Magian.
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Remains of a basin. Photo Jona Lendering.
The water basin

Some fifty meters west of the Ka'bah-i Zardusht, an ancient, irregular-shaped basin can be seen, cut out into the foot of the mountain. It cannot be dated exactly, but it has been claimed that the workmanship is Achaemenian, which may or may not be true. Creating a basin on this particular site, where the rock layers are almost hostile, cannot have been easy, which suggests that the spot itself was very important. Unfortunately, we do not know why, and the usual hypothesis to explain what is not well-understood has been dug up again ("if we don't know what it is, it must have been something religious").

Relief of a lion. Photo Jona Lendering.
The lion

Not far west of the Investiture Relief of Narseh, and very close to the magian, a small lion can be discerned. It may date back to the Parthian age, but this is not certain.

Finally, it must be noted that on at least two places, the rocks have been prepared to add more reliefs, which were not finished. The traces of stone cutting are also visible on several places.

Literature

Louis Vanden Berghe, Reliefs rupestres de l' Iran ancien (1983 Brussels), #87.

Unfinished relief from Naqš-i Rustam. Photo Jona Lendering. Traces of stone cutting at Naqš-i Rustam. Photo Jona Lendering. Unfinished relief. Photo Jona Lendering.
Unfinished relief Traces of stone cutting Another unfinished relief

History Photos
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 14 Nov. 2009
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