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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


High Plinth for Stone Lion of Hamadan


18 November 2009



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Shir Sangi in early 1900

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Shir Sangi in 1950

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  (Click to enlarge)

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Remains of the stone lion, one of the ancient legacies of the city of Hamedan, has recently been placed on a high plinth to protect it from further destruction.


The ancient statue, which was located on a low platform in Sang-Shir Square, has become dilapidated over years.


Vandals have cut scratches and grooves into the body of the statue, whose surface has also been eroded by visitors’ touch.


In addition, the rare artefact has been further contaminated by wax dripping from candles, which some local residents, following an old tradition light on the stone lion’s head.


“We prepared a plan to save the stone lion in 2007 after receiving several letters from cultural heritage enthusiasts, who asked for the rescue of the statue,” Hamedan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (HCHTHD) director Asadollah Bayat told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.


A team of experts used appropriate cleansers to strip the wax off the statue and afterwards, it was installed on a two-meter high platform to keep it safe from visitors’ touch.


The HCHTHD plans to make a covering over the statue in order to safeguard it against rainfall and sunlight.


The statue is 2.5 meters in length, 1.15 in width, and 2.2 in height in its front part.


The date of the statue remains in ambiguity. While some accounts denote the statue to the first Iranian dynasty, the Medes (728-550 BCE) and some to the Parthian dynasty (248 BCE-224 CE), since it was found over a mound which was a Parthian cemetery; others believe it was commissioned by Alexander II to commemorate his male-lover and companion, Hephaestion. According to number of historical accounts Hephaestion fell sick and died in the autumn of 324 BCE when the Macedonian army was stationed in the city of Ecbatana for the winter.


According to the Islamic accounts,, the statue is one of a pair of stone lions installed at the gate of Hamedan. The Muslim invaders named it the 'Lion Gate' after the invasion of Iran by Arabs in 7th century CE.


The stone line was left on the ground in the city until 1949 when Pahlavi II, commissioned the renowned Iranian painter and architect Hushang Seyhun to build the former platform for the statue.





Original news bulletin published by Mehr News rectified and edited by CAIS [*]




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