Bukan arts show the Iranian originality of Persepolis decorations

TEHRAN – Bukan’s glazed brick collection shows the Iranian originality of similar patterns and bas-reliefs that adorn UNESCO-listed Persepolis, a senior researcher from the National Museum of Iran has said.

“Some scholars have doubts about the originality of the designs and reliefs of Persepolis, especially the designs of winged creatures, as being made by Iranians, which this idea can be refuted as the bricks of Bukan also bear these designs” , explained Yousef Hassanzadeh.

Additionally, patterns and designs of Bukan bricks have previously been seen in Assyrian artwork, archaeologists said.

Dating from the 7th or 8th centuries BC. AD, the bricks bear a wide variety of motifs such as winged lions and human-headed bulls, mythological figures, birds of prey, stags, floral or geometric motifs.

Looted and smuggled out of Iran some four decades ago, the decorated bricks were returned from Switzerland last year. They were originally excavated in the Qalaichi archaeological sites in western Iran near the city of Boukan. Qalaichi was once the capital of the Manan Kingdom.

Located about 70 km from the Iranian city of Shiraz, Persepolis was the capital of the Persian Empire during the Achaemenid period (circa 550 – 330 BC). Its construction began in 521 BC by order of Darius the Great as part of a vast program of monumental constructions aimed at emphasizing the unity and diversity of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the legitimacy of royal power and showing the greatness of his kingdom.

The works of Persepolis attracted workers and craftsmen from all the satrapies of the empire and its architecture therefore results from an original combination of forms from these provinces which created a Persian architectural style already sketched in Pasargadae and which we also found at Susa and Ecbatana.

Persepolis includes a vast palatial complex on a monumental terrace which supports multiple hypostyle buildings with specific ceremonial, ritual, emblematic or administrative functions: audiences, royal apartments, administration of the treasury or reception.

Near the terrace were other objects: royal tombs, altars and gardens. There were also the houses of the lower town, of which almost nothing remains visible today.

Many bas-reliefs carved on the steps and doors of the palace represent the diversity of the peoples who made up the empire. Others consecrate the image of a protective, sovereign, legitimate and absolute royal power, where Xerxes I is designated as the legitimate successor of Darius the Great.


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