Tehran, 23 December 2006 (CHN) -- One
of the members of a film crew making a feature-length film at the Palace of
Persepolis was arrested last Thursday for vandalizing two Achaemenid bas-reliefs
at Palace H, denoted to King Artaxerxes (465-425 BC), grandson of Darius the
"From the beginning, we got suspicious of several
individuals in the filming crew so we appointed two guards to keep an eye on
them but one of them eventually destroyed two bas-reliefs of Persepolis,"
explained Norouzi, director of Persepolis Security Department.
The person was found stabbing the reliefs with
metal tools, extensively damaging head of an Achaemenid soldier and causing much
harm to another bas-relief depicting a representative from an Achaemenid subject
nation bringing gift to the court of King of Kings. According to Norouzi,
evidence clearly shows that the person, currently held in police custody, was
intending to smuggle the pieces out. He further said that the group's filming
equipments were also confiscated by the provincial Cultural Heritage Police
After initial studies, experts announced that the
extent of damage caused to the two bas-reliefs is so high such that head of the
Achaemenid soldier was completely removed while the stones around the head of
the other relief were pulled out.
This is the second time the Achaemenid Palace of
Persepolis has seen harm by film crews. A few months ago, part of King Xerxes
Palace at Persepolis was destroyed by fire caused by another group.
The recent incident prompted provincial cultural
heritage experts to send a letter to the Cultural Heritage and Tourism
Organization, demanding the officials to stop issuing permissions for filming at
According to Director of Persepolis Complex, Maziar
Kazemi, the officials who issue permits for feature-length films with large
crews are responsible for such catastrophes. "We have many times asked the
officials not to authorize groups that have applied to make feature-length films
at Persepolis, but our requests have so far received no response," added Kazemi.
Bas-reliefs depicting scenes from the New Year's
festival are beautifully carved on the walls of Persepolis, built in 518 BC
during the reign of Darius the Great and completed by his son and successor King
Xerxes I (reigned 485-465). They are adorned with rows of beautifully executed
reliefs showing processions of representatives of twenty-three subject nations
of the Achaemenid Empire, with court notables and Persians and Medes, followed
by soldiers and guards, their horses, and royal chariots. Delegates in their
native attire, some completely Persian in style, carry gifts, such as silver and
gold vessels and vases, weapons, woven fabrics, jewelry, and animals from the
delegates' own states, as token of their loyalty and as tribute to the King.
Although the overall arrangement of scenes seems
repetitive, there are marked differences in the designs of garments,
headdresses, hair styles, and beards that give each delegation its own
distinctive character and make its origin unmistakable.