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The Rise of Civilizations. The Art of the Ancient Near East 3000 BC – 630 AD. Important Terms. Fertile Crescent Deity Epic Of Gilgamesh City States Cuneiform/Pictograph Stele Votive Hierarchy of Scale Narrative/ Commemorative Votive / Libation Relief: sunken - low - high – bas

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    the rise of civilizations

    The Rise of Civilizations

    The Art of the Ancient Near East

    3000 BC – 630 AD

    important terms
    Important Terms
    • Fertile Crescent
    • Deity
    • Epic Of Gilgamesh
    • City States
    • Cuneiform/Pictograph
    • Stele
    • Votive
    • Hierarchy of Scale Narrative/ Commemorative
    • Votive / Libation
    • Relief: sunken - low - high – bas
    • Register / Frieze
    • Ziggurats / Mastaba /Citadel
    • Bent- axis
    • Colossal Statue
    • Lintel & Post
    • Arch
    • Barrel Vault
    • Façade / Blind Arcade
    • Clerestory
    • Investiture
    • Uruk
    • Summerians
    • Akkadians
    • Semites
    • Old Babylonian
    • Kassites & Mitanni
    • Hittites
    • Elamites
    • Assyrians
    • Neo-Babylonian
    • Achaemenid Persian
    • Greco-Roman
    • Sasanian
    • Wheel (ca. 3700 BC)
    • Math system based on the numeral 60 which was the basis of time in modern world - the earliest concepts in algebra and geometry were formulated
    • System of weights and measures were developed which served the ancient world until the Roman period
    • Boots and sandals (footwear
    • Many of the constellations were mapped by the Sumerians
    • Complex system of sewers and flush toilets to rid cities of waste and unhealthy affects of swamps.
    • Bronze metal
    • Beer brewing

    Cuneiform Cone or nails were used in ancient Mesopotamia around 2000 BC as a dedicatory text when a monarch built or rebuilt a major building and dedicated it to the city deity.

    • This nail has a clear inscription written by the scribe of Gudea, who ruled ancient Legash one of the biggest cities in the known world at the time.

    Long thought to be an Assyrian tablet, computer analysis has matched it with the sky above Mesopotamia in 3300BC and proves it to be of much more ancient Sumerian origin.

    The tablet is an "Astrolabe", the earliest known astronomical instrument.

    Consisted of a segmented, disc shaped star chart with marked units of angle measure inscribed upon the rim.


    Tools And Weapons:

    • Saws
    • Chisels
    • Hammers
    • Braces
    • Bits
    • Nails
    • Pins
    • Rings
    • Hoes
    • Axes
    • Knives
    • Lancepoints
    • Arrowheads
    • Swords
    • Glue
    • Daggers
    • Armor
    sumerians the wheel
    Sumerians & the wheel.

    They used it for many things such as transportation, war, farming, and trading.

    It is believed to be invented when two other simple tools, the roller and the sledge.

    When they combined the two, the sledge created grooves in the wooden log, which eventually was developed into a separate wheel and axle.

    the sumerians three types of boats
    The Sumerians three types of boats:
    • Skin boats comprised reeds and animal skins
    • Sailboats featured bitumen (tar) waterproofing
    • Wooden-oared ships, sometimes pulled upstream by people and animals walking along the nearby banks.

    The Sumerians occupied the lower valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now southern Iraq. They established urban communities and developed the earliest known writing system.

    • 3200 BCE, the Sumerians constructed ziggurats and produced small-scale sculptures and objects carved from alabaster, gypsum, lapis lazuli, limestone, marble, and wood. Details and decorative elements were often inlaid using shell, lapis lazuli, red limestone, black limestone, and gold.
    • The first city-states:
    • Ancient Sumer was not a unified nation but was made up of a dozen or so independent city-states.
    • Each was thought to be under the protection of a different Mesopotamian deity.
    • City planning and religion:
    • The Sumerian city plan reflected the central role of the local god in the daily life of the of he city-state’s occupants. The temple was not only the focus of local religious practice but also an administrative and economic center.

    Inanna - Female Head from Uruk, c. 3500 - 3000 B.C., Iraq Museum, Baghdad.

    • A lifelike head of a woman (Inanna or Priestess) carved from imported white marble originally had inlaid eyes and eyebrows and has wedges and holes where variety of jewels or wigs were addedsuch as golden wigs.
    • Found in a sacred  precinct of the goddess Inanna, but unknown if this stone head is Innana.
    • The stone head sculpture is known to be misleading.  It would of been painted, have a wig or the missing body would have probably been clothed in expensive fabrics. -Inanna was the God of love/war
    presentation of offerings to inanna warka vase from uruk iraq ca 3200 3000 bce alabaster 3 1 4 high
    Presentation of offerings to Inanna (Warka Vase), from Uruk, Iraq ca. 3200–3000 BCE. Alabaster, 3’ 1/4" high.

    A vase divided into three registers shows animals, a procession of naked men, and a "priest-king" bringing offerings to a female priestess or goddess.

    • The Warka Vase, is the oldest ritual vase in carved stone discovered in ancient Sumer.
    • It shows men entering the presence of his gods, specifically a cult goddess Inanna, the Earth and moon goddess.
    • Votive Offering

    Statuettes of worshipers, from the Square Temple at Eshnunna , Iraqca. 2700 BCEGypsum inlaid with shell and black limestone, tallest figure approx. 2’ 6" high

    • Perpetual Prayer
    • Head tilted, gaze up
    • Big eyes, little hands
    • Disproportionate
    • Simple Forms

    Cone / Cylinder

    • Arms @ chest in prayer
    • Clothing

    Seated statuette of Urnanshe, from the Ishtar temple at Mari , Syria, ca. 2600–2500 BCE. Gypsum inlaid with shell and lapis lazuli, 10 1/4" high

    • The eunuch of Mari:
    • Official singer at the Mari CourtAnother group of Sumerian votive statuettes comes from the Temple of Ishtar at Mari.
    • The figure of Urnanshe depicted beardless but with straight hair to his waist, suggesting he was a eunuch.
    • A stele is a carved stone slab erected to commemorate a historical event or, in some other cultures, to mark a grave.

    The city-states of ancient Sumer were often at war with one another, and warfare is the theme of the so-called Stele of the Vultures from Girsu


    Fragment of the victory stele of Eannatum(Stele of the Vultures), from Girsu, Syria, ca. 2600–2500 BCE. Limestone, full stele approx. 5’ 11" high

    • The upper register shows Eannatum, the ensi or ruler of Lagash, leading a phalanx of soldiers into battle, with their defeated enemies trampled below their feet.
    • Flying above are the vultures with the severed heads of the enemies of Lagash in their beaks.
    • Second registershows soldiers marching with shouldered spears behind the king, who is riding a chariot and holding a spear.
    • In the third register, a small part of a possibly seated figure can be seen. In front of him, a cow is tethered to a pole while a naked priest standing on a pile of dead animal bodies performs a libation ritual on two plants spouting from vases.

    War & Peace of the Standard of Ur, Royal Cemetery, Ur, Iraqca. 2600 BCE. Wood inlaid with shell, lapis lazuli, and red limestoneapprox. 8" x 1’ 7".

    • The spoils of war as well as farming and trade brought considerable wealth to some of the city-states of ancient Sumer.
    • Rectangular box with sloping sides of unknown function.
    • Possibly Military Standard
    • Single Narrative?
    • 3 Registers
    • Analyze this piece…

    Bull-headed lyre (restored) from Tomb 789 ("King’s Grave") Royal Cemetery, Ur , Iraq ca. 2600 BCE. Gold leaf and lapis lazuli over a wooden core, approx. 5’ 5" high

    A bearded bull's head decorates the sound box of a Sumerian lyre.

    Other imaginary composite creatures decorate a panel on the sound box itself.

    Resembles instrument depicted on the standard of Ur.

    Soundbox of the lyre, Royal Cemetery, Ur, Iraq, ca. 2600 BCE. Wood with inlaid gold, lapis lazuli, and shell, approx. 1’ 7" high

    The top of the sound board is said to that of Gilgamesh as hero fighting off animals.

    Heraldic Composition A composition that is symmetrical on either side of a central figure

    All three of the faces look surprised. Either way it depicts the power of man over animal. All if these registers suggest a myth that would have been well known by the Sumerians.

    Animal Attendants bring food an drink to the feast

    A trio of Animal  Musicians and Servers.TheDonkey plays the harp as it is held up by a bear.


    Banquet scene, cylinder seal (left) and its modern impression (right),from the tomb of Pu-abi, Royal Cemetery, Ur ,Iraq ca. 2600 BCE. Lapis lazuli, approx. 2" high

    A man and a woman sit and drink from beakers in a banquet scene carved in miniature on a cylinder seal.

    akkadian art

    The first near eastern kings:In 2334 B.C., Sumeria came under the domination of the Semitic ruler Sargon, whose city, Akkad, gave its name to the language and the culture.

    Hethe first Mesopotamian ruler to unite Sumer and other Mesopotamian territories under one regime and proclaim himself king in his own right.

    Along with this political shift came a shift in artistic representation.

    Earlier works often focused on depictions of divine beings.

    In the Akkadian period, the rise of human sovereigns led to the creation of royal portraits that glorified earthly rulers.

    The art of this time focuses on exhibiting the status and power of male rulers. Their victories in war and laws are recorded on upright stone slabs.

    head of an akkadian ruler from nineveh iraq ca 2250 2200 b c copper 1 2 3 8 high
    Head of an Akkadian ruler, from Nineveh, Iraqca. 2250-2200 B.C. COPPER, 1' 2 3/8" HIGH

    Also known as Sargon of Akkad

    This bronze portrait head, believed to represent Sargon, is one of the first of these royal likenesses. Through its precise, detailed craftsmanship and realistic features, not seen in earlier works, the head simultaneously conveys a sense of its subject’s grandeur and humanity.

    victory stele of naram sin from susa iran 2 254 2218 b c pink sandstone approx 6 7
    Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, from Susa, Iran, 2254-2218 B.C. PINK SANDSTONE, APPROX. 6' 7"
    • Stele commemorates the victory over the Lullubi people.
    • The Akkadians under Sargon dominated the Sumerians about 2300 BC. Naram-Sin was Sargon's grandson.
    • The god-like Akkadian kings ruled with absolute authority.
    • Naram-Sin's title was "King of the Four Quarters" meaning "Ruler of the World."
    • Storming the mountain, like scaling a ladder to the heavens (like building ziggurat towers)
    • Organized and disciplined troops

    The representation of the gods as star images apears at the top of this stele. 

    The fact that Naram-Sin has rammed a spear through the  neck of an enemy could indicate the act as a sacrifice to the gods. 

    Naram-Sin's position in relations to the gods above and the people below is particularly significant—he is halfway between his soldiers and the gods.

    Not only is he a god on earth but also the humans' intermediary between them and the other gods.

    This is not just an early example of the "divine rights of kings" but of the actual "divine king."

    naram sin
    • The first time a King is represented as a god.
    • The king also has numerous accoutrements signifying his status and authority:
    • He is wearing the horned helmet showing his god-like status and is carrying numerous weapons including spears and a bow.
    • Composite view
    • Hierarchal Scale
    the foes of naram sin

    Naram-Sin most prominent.

    As he tramples over one of his fallen enemies others beg for mercy (note the one with a broken spear).

    The enemies fall, flee or beg.

    He has kicked one off the mountain and rammed a spear through another's neck as a possible sacrifice to the gods (represented by the star-like figures) above him.

    neo sumerian art
    Neo-Sumerian Art
    • Guti people brought Akkadian power to an end.
    • Dominated life in central and lower Mesopotamia until the cities united and established Neo-Sumerian state ruled by the kings of Ur

    When Akkadian domination ended, Sumerian culture was revived. The new Sumerian kings built a huge stepped ziggurat with long ramp-like stairways at the royal city of Ur. The Neo-Sumerian ruler Gudea had numerous statues carved in his image.

    ziggurat ur iraq ca 2100 b c
    Ziggurat, Ur , Iraq, ca. 2100 B.C.
    • Massive rectangular pyramidal structure, oriented to true North, 210 by 150 feet, constructed with three levels of terraces, standing originally between 70 and 100 feet high.
    • Three monumental staircases led up to a gate at the first terrace level, then a single staircase lead up to a second terrace, which supported a platform on which a temple and the final and highest terrace stood.

    The core of the ziggurat was made of mud brick, covered with baked bricks laid with bitumen, a naturally occurring tar.

    • Each of the baked bricks measured about 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.75 inches and weighed as much as 33 lbs.
    • The lower portion of the ziggurat, which supported the first terrace, would have used 720,000 baked bricks alone.
    seated statue of gudea holding temple plan from girsu iraq ca 2100 b c diorite approx 2 5 high
    Seated statue of Gudeaholding temple plan, from Girsu, Iraqca. 2100 B.C. DIORITE, APPROX. 2' 5" HIGH
    • The Seated Statue of Gudea is a Neo-Sumerian sculptural representation of one of their heroes, Gudea of Lagash.
    • The sculpture depicts Gudea holding his hands in a prayer position with the plans, on a tablet, for one of the temples that he was going to rebuild (Ningirsu).
    • Gudeaburied accounts of building the temples in the temple foundations. In these accounts, Gudea acknowledged the process of gathering materials, purifying sites, and dedicating temples.
    • The position in which the hands are held indicate both piety and that the citizens thought of Gudea as an intermediary between themselves and the gods. Additionally, Gudea is seated, typical position for powerful figures during this time.
    • Gudea’sfeet are raised above ground level on a platform, another common indication that the person was considered high up by the people.
    • His arms appear to have been made muscular, something that didn’t appear in the other
    stele with law code of hammurabi upper part from susa iran ca 1780 b c basalt louvre approx 7 4
    Stele with law code of Hammurabi (upper part), from Susa, Iran, ca. 1780 B.C. BASALT. LOUVRE, APPROX. 7'4"
    • Hammurabi conquered much of northern and western Mesopotamia and by 1776 B.C.E., he is the most far-reaching leader of Mesopotamian history, describing himself as “the king who made the four quarters of the earth obedient.”
    • Hammurabi, King of Babylon reunited Mesopotamia and instituted the Code of Hammurabi, a comprehensive set of laws addressing nearly all aspects of both civil and criminal offenses.
    • Hammurabi is portrayed receiving the laws directly from Shamash the sun god.
    • (a parallel to Moses).
    • Shamash is the dominate figure:
    • seated on his throne
    • wears a crown composed of four pairs of horns
    • holds a ring and staff
    • has flames issuing from his shoulders
    • Although Hammurabi is subservient to the god he still makes a powerful authority statement by addressing the god directly.
    • Even though he has his hand raised in reverence he shows that he has a personal relationship with the gods while mere mortals do not.
    investiture of zimri lim at palace of mari
    Investiture of Zimri-Lim at Palace of Mari

    Ishtar grants power to a new king:A mural survived from a royal palace destroyed by Hammurabi in 1757 B.C.

    • The Palace at Mari, which Hammurabi burned to the ground because Zimri-Lim, the last governor of Mari, began representing himself as king and was unacceptable.
    • The fire acted as a kiln and better preserved many artifacts.
    • Mural that had been displayed on the palace wall.
    • Granting his right to rule by goddess Ishtar (just as Hammurabi appeared before Shamash)
    • Ishtar has one foot on lion and hands Zimri-Lim emblems of power.
    • God & goddesses witness ceremony
    • Two more below with vases of plants & water flow
    hittite art
    Hittite Art
    • The Babylonian Empire was toppled in the face of an onslaught by the Hittites, an Anatolian people who conquered and sacked Babylon around 1595 BCE.
    • They left Babylon in the hands of the Kassites
    lion gate hittite fortress boghazk y turkey ca 1400 b c limestone approx 7 high
    Lion Gate, Hittite Fortress, Boghazköy, Turkeyca. 1400 B.C. LIMESTONE, APPROX. 7' HIGH
    • The south western entrance of the Upper City of Hattusha is the Lion Gate, named for the two matched lions carved from two arched stones.
    • Symbolically guarding the gateway
    • When the gate was in use, during the Hittite Empire period between 1343-1200 BC, the stones arched in a parabola, with towers on either side if citadel.
    • Lions were apparently of symbolic importance to the Hittite civilization.
    • The image most often associated with Hittites is the sphinx, combining a lion's body with an eagle's wings and a human head and chest.
    middle elamite and assyrian art
    • The Elamite Empire lasted until 641 BCE, when its capital city, Susa, was destroyed by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.
    • Elam at its height:

    To the east of Sumer, Akkad, and Babylon, in what is western Iran today, a civilization flourished that historians refer to by the Biblical name Elam.

    The Immovable Statue of Queen Napir-Asu, from Susa, Iranca. 1350-1300 BCE. Bronze and copper, 4' 2 3/4 high.

    A statue cast, weighing 3,760 pounds, features a solid bronze core and an outer surface of hollow-cast copper.

    • Queen Napirasu, Untash-Napirisha's wife, is shown standing.
    • The figure is life-size, but the head and the left arm are damaged.
    • Short-sleeved gown covered in the sort of embroidery.
    • 4 bracelets on her right wrist and a ring on her left ring finger.
    • Hands crossed on her stomach, although she is not in the pose usually associated with worship.
    • Inscription on the front of the skirt is in Elamite, reflecting the kingdom's linguistic identity.
    • The inscription gives the queen's name and titles, invokes the protection of the gods, describes the ritual offerings made to them, and calls down their curse on anyone bold enough to desecrate her likeness.
    • The statue is placed under the protection of the god Beltiya and three deities associated with the Igihalkid Dynasty - the god Inshushinak, the god Napirisha, and his consort Kiririsha
    reconstruction drawing of the citadel of sargon ii dursharrukin iraqca 720 705 bce
    Reconstruction drawing of the citadel of Sargon II, DurSharrukinIraqca. 720-705 BCE

    The Assyrians undertook ambitious building projects, such as the citadel of Sargon II, which was decorated with large-scale stone sculptures of lamassu and with relief carvings illustrating the king's prowess in war and hunting.

    Lamassu (winged, human-headed bull), from the citadel of Sargon II, Iraq, ca. 720-705 BCE. Limestone, approx. 13' 10 high

    Guarding the gate to Sargon's palace were colossal limestone monsters

    In art, lamassu were depicted as hybrids, winged bulls or lions with the head of a human male

    The horned cap attests to their divinity, and the belt signifies their power.

    The sculptor gave these guardian figures five legs so that they appear to be standing firmly when viewed from the front but striding forward when seen from the side.

    Composite creature & man

    These lamassi protected and supported important doorways in Assyrian palaces.


    Assyrian archers pursuing enemies, relief from the Northwest Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Iraq, ca. 875-860 BCE. Gypsum, 2' 10 5/8 high

    For their palace walls the Assyrian kings commissioned extensive series of narrative reliefs exalting royal power and piety. The degree of documentary detail in the Assyrian reliefs is without parallel in the ancient Near East.

    It depicts the Assyrian people vanquishing and taking over various warring people.

    The majority of the artwork within the palace show tales of King Ashurnasirpal II


    Literally to small for compatriots

    Adjustment for clarity, behind head, but over shoulder

    Arrow in back

    • Ashurnasipal drove enemy forces into Euphrates River
    • Assyrian archers shoot arrows at the fleeting foes.
    • Distance is compressed & human actors enlarged
    • Composite view

    Animal skin

    Euphrates River (stylized pattern)

    Across the river, but looks as if the river

    Ashurnasirpal II with attendants and soldier, from his palace at Kalhu, Iraq, ca. 875-860 BCE. Glazed brick, 11 3/4 high

    Libation(ritual of pouring liquid)

    Hierarchal scale

    The Assyrian palace reliefs frequently portrayed the king and his retinue in ceremonial roles or paying homage to the gods.


    Not many painting survived , just relief carvings.

    Ashurbanipal hunting lions, relief from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Iraq, ca. 645-640 BCE. Gypsum, 5' 4 high

    Two centuries later, sculptors carved hunting reliefs for the Nineveh palace of the conqueror of Elamite Susa, Ashurbanipal (not AshurNASIRpal)

    Glorifies king by showing he ‘s a slayer of beasts, reapeatedly.

    Strength, courage and nobility.


    Muzzle’s wrinkled skin & defined muscles

    Ashurbanipal hunting lions while attendants protect blind side.

    Only the king had the privilege to kill the beast, the attendants only wounded.



    Snarled muzzle

    Blood streaming from wounds, drag her hind-quarters, paralyzed

    Strength in her muscles

    neo babylonian and achaemenid persian art
    • With the collapse of the Assyrian Empire, Babylonian kings reestablished their power in the south.
    • The city of Babylon became one of the greatest cities of antiquity, famous for its "hanging gardens" and its enormous ziggurat. The city gate was faced with blue-glazed bricks and glazed bricks molded into reliefs of animals.
    • The city was captured in the 6th century BCE and became part of the great Persian Empire. The Persian kings built a fortified royal palace at Persepolis.Wondrous Babylon:
    • King Nebuchadnezzar II, restored Babylon to its rank as one of the great cities of antiquity.
    • The cities “hanging gardens” were counted as among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world and its enormous ziggurat was immortalized in the Bible as the Tower of Babel.
    ishtar gate restored babylon iraq ca 575 bce glazed brick
    Ishtar Gate (restored), Babylon, Iraq, ca. 575 BCE. Glazed brick.
    • Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the gate was constructed using a rare blue stone called lapis lazuli with alternating rows of bas-relief sirrush (dragons) and aurochs
    • The roof and doors of the gate were of cedar, according to the dedication plaque. Through the gate ran the Processional Way, which was lined with walls covered in lions on glazed bricks (about 120 of them).
    • Statues of the deities were paraded through the gate and down the Processional Way each year during the New Year's celebration.
    • Originally the gate, being part of the Walls of Babylon, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the world until, in the 6th century AD, it was replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
    persepolis royal audience hall in the background iran ca 521 465 bce
    Persepolis (royal audience hall in the background), Iran, ca. 521–465 BCE.

    Imperial Persepolis:The most important source of knowledge about Persian art and architecture is the ceremonial and administrative complex on the citadel at Persepolis.

    It was built between 521 and 465 BCE by Darius I (r. 522-486 BCE) and Xerxes (r. 486-465 BCE), successors of Cyrus.

    Rock cut podium

    Royal audience hall, apadana


    The first building phase (dark blue on the map) may have lasted from 518 to 490. Darius' men leveled the ground and created a terraceon which stood a large building (the 'treasury' in the south-east; #2 on the second map) and an audience hall.

    • In the treasury, the booty of the conquered tribes and states and the annual tribute sent by the king's loyal subjects on the occasion of the New Year's festival, were stored.
    • The square audience hall, which was at the heart of the terrace, is usually called the Apadana (#1). Its eastern stairs are famous for its representation of the people of the empire.
    • The second phase, between 490-480, consists of buildings started by Darius but completed in the first years of the reign of his son and successor, Xerxes .The Persepolis is mostly the work of this Xerxes.
    • Persepolis was taken by the Macedonian king Alexander the Great in the first weeks of 330.
    • The Palace of Xerxes seems to have received a special treatment, because it was damaged more severely than other buildings; it is likely that the Greek soldiers in Alexander's company had their revenge for the destruction of Athens in 480 BCE

    Persepolis, building phases:dark blue: 515-490 purple: 490-480 green: 480-470 red: 470-450 pink: 360-338


    On the northern wall, we can see a large procession of dignitaries. Closest to the king, the Persian dignitaries are walking; people with horses are next; at the end, we see two chariots.


    the struggle between a bull and a lion

    Ambassadors bringing gifts to the Persian king, reliefs on the terrace of the royal audience hall (apadana), Persepolis, Iran, ca. 521–465 BCE.

    palace of shapur i iraq 250 ad
    Palace of Shapur I, Iraq 250 AD
    • Near Eastern history becomes a part of Greek & Roman history with the conquest of Alexander the Great.
    • However, Persians sought to force out the Romans. The New Persian Empire was founded in AD224
    • ShapurI (241-272), the second Sassanid king, restored the borders of the empire to where they had been in the Achaemenid Persian period, inflicting a triple defeat on the Romans.
    • Earthquake caused its collapse
    • Iwan or brick audience hall covered by barrel vault.
    • The façade to left & right are blind arcades.

    The Sasanian dynasty of Iran ruled an area from the Euphrates River to Bactria from the third century A.D. until the Islamic conquest in the seventh century, controlling for much of that time the Silk Route from Byzantium to China

    head of a sasanian king shapur ii
    Head of a SasanianKing (Shapur II?)
    • The silver head of a Sasanian king is an exquisite example of Sasanianmetalwork (silver with mercury guilding).
    • It is raised from a single piece of silver with chased and repoussé details. The king wears simple ovoid earrings and a beaded necklace of Sasanian fashion.
    • The identity of the subject of such representations, in relief or in the round, can often be determined by comparison of facial features and details of the crown with those of kings portrayed on Sasanian coins of the period.
    • The crescent that decorates the crenellated crown and the striated orb that rises above it have no exact parallel.
    • A combination of stylistic details suggests that it was made sometime in the fourth century, perhaps during the reign of Shapur II (A.D. 310–379).
    • The lower section of this head has been cut away, so there is no way of knowing whether it was originally part of a larger sculpture composed of several pieces or a decorative bust intended to be seen alone
    triumph of shapur i over valerian bishapur reliefs bishapur iran
    Triumph of Shapur I Over Valerian (Bishapur reliefs)- Bishapur, Iran

    Shapur appears larger than life.

    Crown breaks through border drawing attention to king (Like Standard of Ur).

    Bodies of Roman soldiers crumble under his feet.

    Valerian attendants beg at his feet.

    Personify entire Roman army

    At right, attendants lead in Valerian, who kneels before Shapur begging for mercy.

    Borrowed from Greco-Roman art, a cherub brings victory garland

    Same crown as silver head