exhibition of ancient clay statues and figurines, dating from
the 7th-8th millenniums BC to the Sasanid dynasty, is scheduled
to be held in the museum of Persepolis, the ruined capital of
the Persian Empire.
The collection is, indeed, unique and priceless, the most
renowned of which is a clay figurine of a woman, figuratively
dubbed “The Venus of Sohrab’s Hill”. Clay statues are
arguably the most refined form of arts developed in ancient
Persia, an aesthetic statement of Iranians’ social and
religious beliefs and revealing the depth of their mentality.
The huge number of female figurines has raised an array of
questions for Iranian archaeologists, mostly dealing with the
perceived sanctity of them. Some of these clay statues are
believed to have been symbols or idols of fertility and love.
In addition, archaeologists believe those figurines unearthed in
ancient passageways functioned as jinx-busters to enrich the
harvest yield of farmers and preserve their family tree, usually
dedicated to beside-the-road temples and other worship sites to
improve the relations between the prayers and the objects of
A huge number of these figurines are kept in the Ancient Iran
Museum; however, the curators have been forced to transfer the
exhibition to Persepolis Museum to accommodate all eager and
Persepolis, whose ruins can now be found south of modern Iran,
was the capital of the Achaemenid dynasty, after King of Kings
Darius the Great (522-486 BC) was enthroned in that magnificent
city. In its art and architecture, Persepolis reflected Darius's
perception of himself as the leader of conglomerates of people
to whom he had given a new and single identity.
Achaemenid art and architecture found there is at once
distinctive and also highly eclectic. The Achaemenids took the
art forms and the cultural and religious traditions of many of
the ancient Middle Eastern peoples and combined them with
Iranian tradition into a single form. This Achaemenid artistic
style is evident in the iconography of Persepolis, which
celebrates the king and the office of the monarch.
Persepolis was later burned down by Alexander in 331 BC. Only
the columns, stairways and door jambs of its great palaces
survived the arson. The stairways, adorned with reliefs
representing the king, his court, and delegates of his empire
bringing gifts, demonstrate the might of the Persian Empire.