Another time period in the history of the Persian Empire noted for art and architecture is theSasanianorSassanid Era, sometimes called the Second Persian Empire. Buildings during this period featuredbarrel vaults, ceilings with a single semicircular curve they were not found in architecture from the Achaemenid Era. Carved stone reliefs continued to be prominent, and buildings also features scenes done infrescopainting directly into wet plaster or stucco on walls, ormosaics, s formed from many small pieces of ed glass or precious stone.
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Surrounded by fortified walls, Persepolis included a complex of structures built from locally plentiful limestone. Buildings included a Treasury to store the kingdoms wealth, a Throne Hall, and a building called theApadanafor great royal receptions. Seventytwo thin columns with distinctivecapitalsthe very top part of a column of double animal shapes surrounded the Apadana. It also had two large stairways leading up to it decorated with elaborate relief carvings of soldiers, dignitaries, and animals. A closer look at a remaining section of staircase reveals the distinct character of Achaemenid art.
By around and until BC, the time of theAchaemenid Erasometimes also called the First Persian Empire, Persia stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to India. It was a wealthy empire at the of its power and leaders created a palace complex to reflect that position and prestige.
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In all, the Persian Empire produced art and architecture that was decorative, impressive and distinct in its combination of realism and stylization, and it remains some of the most beautiful in the art history of the Middle East.
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The stairway is punctuated by a large relief carving of a lion attacking a bull. Both animals have a definite feeling of motion and carefully rendered detail. But theyre also very decorative, as you can see in this detail of another lion and bull design on another section of the Apadana staircase. Contrasting ures of smooth and beaded lines mark the bulls suce and the lions mane and snarling mouth are patterned as well as realistic.
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In its time, thePersian Empirewas one of the largest and wealthiest in the world. Its art and architecture were realistic but alsostylized. Early Persian works of art included ceramics, ivory carvings, and elegant bronzes from Luristan. The first great period of Persian art and architecture occured during theAcheamenid Era, when the city of Persepolis was founded. Persepolis was a complex of buildings built onterracesand it included theApadana, a hall used by kings that was surrounded by distinctive columns withcapitalsof doubleanimal shapes. The Apadana also featured walls with carvedreliefsor soldiers and animals.
The Sasanian Era was also known for striking silver vessels like bowls and plates. Many featured royal hunting scenes of a king on horseback pursuing game. In this example, from the th century, the suce features s hammered or incised into the silver, which is thengilded, or covered in a very thin layer of gold.
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ThePersian Empire, centered in what is now Iran, was one of the largest and wealthiest kingdoms in the ancient world. It grew from a tribe of nomadic peoples who migrated to the region around B.C. Surrounded by mountains and influenced by a complex mix of Egyptian, Greek and Mesopotamian art, the Persians created a distinct both realistic it looks likes something found in nature and highlystylized, with decorated suces and ornamental flattened spaces.
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The focus of Persian art and architecture during the Achaemenid Era was the city ofPersepolis, founded by Darius the Great in the th century BC. Meant to serve as a government center but also a place for ceremonies and festivals, Persepolis was built interracesor layers on a leveled section of a mountainside. It was a monumental undertaking and took several rulers and almost a century to complete.
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During theSasanian or Sassanid Era, Persian architecture includedbarrel vaults, stone relief carving and walls decorated withfrescopaintings andmosaics. Silver plates with royal hunting scenes on them were also made, using methods like hammering and gilding.
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The earliest Persian art tended to be small and porle objects, things like ceramics, delicate ivory carvings, and small bronze sculptures from a mountainous area called Luristan. A good example of a Luristan bronze is this elegant horse bit. Two nciful winged goats feature curving horns and upward twisted tails. The unidentified artist was clearly concerned with more than just a utilitarian piece of hardware.
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Built of limestone, it features a series of figures inreliefa carving thats not quite fully threedimensional and still connected to a suce in a line along the staircase. Imagine how you would have felt as a visitor to this palace, surrounded by such figures and geometric, stepped stonework as you headed to the stairs.
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The Persian Empire produced elaborate palaces decorated with intricate sculptures and made beautiful objects of bronze and silver. In this lesson, explore the art and architecture of the Persian Empire.
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