Sasanian Art

Sasanian Art
Sasanian Art

When we speak of Sassanian art we must clarify that we are referring to the set of artistic manifestations that emerged in ancient Persia during the fourth Iranian dynasty between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD. It is also, without a doubt, the last of the great empires before the arrival of Islam and its artistic manifestations reflect the dichotomy between tradition and modernity.


It was precisely the Byzantine historians who were the first to provide news of the Sassanian court to the West, in their writings the sumptuousness and luxury that overflowed the life of the ruler and everything that revolved around him is already evident; In this sense, the works of art that have come down to us only ratify this same idea, the scenes focus on the rulers and their luxurious lifestyle. In general, we must point out that most of the Sassanid art that has come down to us has been through architecture, sculpture or metalwork and although it is true that the Sassanid culture also harvested painting, the examples that today have come down to us are much rarer.

In the architectural field we must point out that most of the Sassanid cities had a circular approach, although they also knew rectangular shapes surely influenced by the architects of Rome. The circular shape of the citywalled is explained since inside it was easier to house a greater number of houses and for defense it had greater facilities. Inside, the royal constructions stood out above all, such as the Ctesiphon Palace located about thirty kilometers from the current city of Iraq; In this type of works, the vaulted rooms had a special impact, being a precursor to the well-known iwan of Islamic architecture.

However, it is undoubtedly sculpture that has provided us with the most information about the Sassanid culture. In the province of Fars we find a set of reliefs of great historical importance since they represent a notable event of each of the Sassanian rulers; they are large format reliefs, excavated on the rock and made to be seen from above.


For its part, the free-standing sculpture was not as popular as the attached one, however, we can also highlight a work of special relevance such as the colossal statue of Shapur I. The work is located at the entrance of a cave in Bishapur, is made of limestone and is about seven meters high.

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