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7/9/04

Iran: Reliefs Testify to Magnificence of Achaemenids' Art

Source: Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency

Bas-reliefs carved on the walls of the main palace of Pasargadae on Cyrus the Great's order are among the most exquisite samples of engraving in the historical site, an Iranian expert observed.

"These Bas reliefs mainly depict the sacrificing of animals and dedicating gifts to Cyrus, though today they have barely remained intact," said Morteza Saghebfar, expert and researcher of ancient history, adding other architectural features of Pasargadae, the oldest capital of the empire, rank among the most marvelous samples of the Achaemenids' arts (559-330 B.C.).

"The columns and congresses still left in Pasargadae and Persepolis are typical of the engraving forms practiced during the era," he noted.

Pasargadae, the residence of Cyrus the Great (559-530 B.C.), some 43 kilometers by air from Persepolis, probably also had as one of its principal functions the safeguarding of the king's treasures. There was a well-defined citadel there, covering a huge area of about two hundred meters in length and up to one hundred and thirty meters in width. In addition, a small enclosed valley immediately to the north of the citadel platform was 'guarded by a continuous mud-brick fortification wall with square towers at regular intervals'. Schmidt suggested many years ago that the treasury should be shut in this fortified area. Excavations at present under way in Pasargadae may eventually provide information on that point.

The principal remains of the palace area belonged to three buildings interpreted by Herzfeld as a gate structure, a palace called the audience hall of Cyrus, and another called the residential palace. These buildings, which lie quite far apart, may have been separated by the shady trees and the clear watercourses of a park.

The gate structure was assumed to have been similar to the well-preserved gate of Xerxes at Persepolis. A pair of colossal winged bulls facing outside was thought to have guarded the opening of the gate and a pair of human-headed bulls to have faced toward the palaces. A columnar hall is said to have formed the middle room of the structure, which seems to have had a side room in the north-east. One jamb of the doorway of this room had the figure of a four-winged genius carved upon it. An inscription above the figure read in three languages: 'I, Cyrus the king, the Achaemenid [built this].' It was still there to be copied by visitors to the site in 1840-41, but today it has disappeared.

... Payvand News - 7/9/04 ... --



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