‘Bronze-Age Iranian relics epitomize divine beings doing superhuman things’

April 18, 2017 - 10:38

TEHRAN – A senior German archaeologist has said Bronze Age Iranian relics, which are currently on show in Bonn, demonstrate conquer of the nature’s wild forces by the means of crafting divine beings doing superhuman things.

“These are divine beings doing superhuman things. It’s all about subjugating nature’s wild forces,” Deutsche Welle quoted Barbara Helwing who is also the curator of the exhibit as saying on April 13.

Titled “Iran, Ancient Culture between Water and Desert”, the exhibit opened its doors to the public on April 13 at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany -- Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

The showcase represents over 400 objects amongst them is a patchwork of richly decorated artifacts that offer a great deal of information about the daily life of the inhabitants of southeastern Iran as well as their beliefs and myths during the Bronze Age.

“What we’re exhibiting comes from the first confiscated collection of objects found in Jiroft. They were retracted from Sothebys and other auction houses,” added Helwing in a keynote during the opening ceremony of the exhibit.

Helwing is an archaeologist specialized in the archaeology of Southwest Asia with long-standing on-site experience in Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan. She worked for the German Archaeological Institute in Iran until 2007.

According to the German museum, “Iran, Ancient Culture between Water and Desert” opens up a window onto a country that has been inaccessible for decades and whose imagery is little known in Europe.

Visitors are offered with scenes of combat and mythical heroes wrestling with animals of prey are recurring motifs on the vessels. On one of them, a muscular man is holding two leopards in the air by their tails. On another, a river seems to be flowing out of the foreheads of water buffalos, and on still another, a snake is coiling around a vessel.

 “These cultures drew their visual inspirations from their surroundings. Back then, wild goats existed in the Zagros Mountains where people first settled down. They can be found decorating the jars and pots,” said Susanne Annen, the co-curator of the exhibition.

The relics found in Jiroft aren’t the only archaeological treasures that have left Iran for the first time. Also on display are the luxurious objects, mainly gold jewelry and bracelets, found in the tomb of two Elamite princesses.

The Elamite tomb containing two female skeletons in two bronze sarcophagi from the sixth century BC was discovered by construction workers in 2007 near the village of Jubaji close to the Persian Gulf. The princesses had been provided with objects for their journey to the next world.

“It was great that these rings were inscribed. They show that we can reconstruct the names of their ancestors, which is how we have a direct reference to the royal Elamite family,” said Helwing. The Elamites mostly settled in the lowlands located in the southwestern region of present-day Iran.

Organized under the auspices of the National Museum of Iran and the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization, the exhibits will be running through Aug. 20.

PHOTO: The exhibition “Iran. Ancient Culture Between Water and Desert” in Bonn’s Bundeskunsthalle museum shows a muscular hero wrestling with two leopards.


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