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Gallery Text

The Hall of 100 Columns, constructed for the Persian king Xerxes (r. 486–465 BCE), has multiple doorways that show a royal hero fighting mythical beasts and the king elevated by his troops and the empire’s subject peoples. Above the king hovers a figure in a winged disk, likely the god Ahuramazda. Xerxes’ predecessor Darius stated: “A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created yonder heaven, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Darius king, one king of many, one lord of many.” In representing their supreme power, the Persian kings emphasized religious legitimization, control over evil forces, and the establishment of an imperial world order. These timeless images are in marked contrast to the particular battle and hunt scenes dominating many Neo-Assyrian palace reliefs. Both Assyrian and Persian reliefs were painted; this fragment preserves traces of color and incised patterns.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1943.1062
Title
Ahuramazda in the Winged Disk
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
486-460 BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Persepolis (Persia)
Period
Achaemenid period
Culture
Achaemenid
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/291721
Location
Level 3, Room 3440, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Art, Ancient Near Eastern Art in the Service of Kings
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Limestone
Technique
Relief
Dimensions
73 cm h x 44.3 cm w x 10 cm d (28 3/4 x 17 7/16 x 3 15/16 in.)
Provenance
[E. Sassoon, Paris,(by 1931)], sold; to [Brummer Gallery, Inc, New York, (1931-1932)], sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York, NY, (1932-1943), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
1943
Object Number
1943.1062
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT BY THE TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION TO THE HARVARD ART MUSEUMS.
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Publication History

Eric Schroeder, "Relief Sculptures from Persepolis", Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum (1943), Vol. 10, No. 2, 44-45, p. 44-45, fig. 3.

Arthur Upham Pope and Phyllis Ackerman, A Survey of Persian Art From Prehistoric Times to the Present, Oxford University Press (NY) and Oxford University Press (UK) (London, England and New York, NY, 1967), Vol. I, p. 333; Vol. VII, pl. 96c.

Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), p. 256 (checklist).

Judith Lerner, The Achaemenid Relief of Ahura Mazda in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Bulletin of the Asia Institute (Shiraz, 1971), no. 2, pp. 19-35, pp. 19-35

Judith Lerner, "A Painted Relief from Persepolis", Archaeology, Archaeological Institute of America (New York, April 1973), vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 116-22, pp. 116-22, ill.

George M. A. Hanfmann and David Gordon Mitten, "The Art of Classical Antiquity", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 362-369, fig. 3.

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), p. 97, no. 107, ill.

Exhibition History

Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/22/2007 - 01/20/2008

32Q: 3440 Near East, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Collection Highlights

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu