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The Enigmatic Rock Reliefs at Taq-I-Bustan: A Late Sasanian Site on the Silk Road

The unfinished monument at Taq-i Bustan include two artificially carved grottoes and a typical celebrative Sasanian rock relief. The Persian sovereign who built Taq-i Bustan cannot be identified for certain since the problematic crown that he wears in the reliefs of the larger grotto does not present any clear parallel in Sasanian coinage. Art historians have recently proposed some ideas about different phases in the construction of that monument with very convincing arguments that could even find some support in Islamic written sources. It is highly probable that a usurper who came from Central Asia and imported many external elements (namely Sogdian) in Persia initiated the larger grotto at Taq-i Bustan. This could be the reason of the occurrence of unique textile decorations just on the garments of the relevant people on those rock reliefs. Those decorative elements have been probably introduced from Central Asia into Sasanian Persia and not vice–versa.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016. 07:30PM


Knight Building - Room 102, 521 Memorial Way


Sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Silkroad Foundation




Free and open to the public.