In 2006 I visited Tehran, as I stepped out of the airport the smell reminded me of India. There is much in common here with India, in the hospitality, traffic, colours and the way of people, putting aside the religion. There is a certain pride that the people take in their history, even though everything before Islam is sidelined by the politicians, the educated common man is very aware and speaks enthusiastically of the Persian empire. There are a number of museums in Tehran, but a lack of time dictated I choose one, my interest for pottery and Persian history led me to visit National Museum of Iran.
The oldest collection here dates back to Prehistoric times, but the most importantly it houses the Achaemenid Empire artefacts. The bronze age pottery is just exquisite and amusing. The relief’s show a sensitivity to form and texture, and are beautiful storytellers. The museum itself is plain, and old style, with large windows for light, which meant glare on the glass preventing photography and viewing of details. The collection of photographs here are some just of my favourite artefacts, not all are labelled with the exact time line. Considering that Iran is not a ‘in’ place to travel to, if any of these photographs are of interest for research, do get in touch. It is rather unfortunate that museums with such rich collections have nothing on their websites, and these beautiful objects become hard to access due to political turmoil.
The symbols in clay from the Persian artefacts reminds one of the symbols found in Indus (photograph from British Museum collection of Indus is added), and the abstractions of forms and animals have the same feel to them.
The wine and water jugs are my favourite, the craftsmen of the time have mounded them with a sense of humour, keeping in mind the function of pouring. To me these terracotta animal jugs were the most exciting.
In this relief, I love the detail of the throne, the leather stitches are detailed out, the legs have a turned wood style with claw foot. The foot rest is detailed out too. Chair design was in fashion then too.
The columns were made of black marble with double-headed bull capitals. Some of the most elaborate columns in the ancient world were those of Persia especially the massive stone columns erected in Persepolis.
Parthian bronze statue found in Mal-e-Mir, Khuzestan (classical Elymais), a key statue but hard to date, scholars have proposed various datings ranging from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.
For development of pottery before this time frame refer the post link below