JICA to install anti-seismic showcases at National Museum of Iran

March 11, 2022 - 18:44

TEHRAN –  The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has agreed to design and install anti-seismic showcases at the vast National Museum of Iran, which is home to countless relics representing the juicy history of the Iranian plateau.

The National Museum of Iran and JICA finalized the support through an MoU signed on March 8 in a session attended by Tokyo’s ambassador to Tehran Ikawa Kazutoshi, JICA Senior Representative in Tehran Taro Azuma, and Director General of Museums and Historical-Cultural Property Morteza Adibzadeh, and Chairman of the National Committee of Iranian Museums (ICOM) Seyed Ahmad Mohit Tabatabai.

Based on the MoU, JICA provides the necessary financial and logistical support for the construction of earthquake-proof showcases with standard lighting and other necessary features, an official with the museum told the Tehran Times.

“The showcases will be constructed by Japanese experts and will be installed at the National Museum of Iran.”

The National Museum showcases ceramics, pottery, stone figures, and carvings, mostly taken from excavations at Persepolis, Ismail Abad (near Qazvin), Shush, Rey, and Turang Tappeh to name a few.

The building, designed by French architect André Godard and completed in 1928, is one of the more attractive modern buildings in Tehran, blending Sassanian principles such as the grand iwan-style entrance with art deco–style brickwork.

Inside, among the finds from Shush, there’s a stone capital of a winged lion, some delightful pitchers and vessels in animal shapes, and colorful glazed bricks decorated with double-winged mythical creatures. A copy of the diorite stele detailing the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, found at Shush in 1901, is also displayed – the original being in Paris.

Exhibits from Persepolis include a magnificent human-headed capital, a cuneiform inscription proclaiming the might and godly affinity of Xerxes, and a striking frieze of glazed tiles from the central hall of the Apadana Palace. Also on display are a famous trilingual inscription from the time of Darius I, a bull-headed capital and carved staircase, a statue of a sitting dog that looks like it was carved just weeks ago, and four foundation tablets inscribed in cuneiform.

One of the more startling exhibits is the Salt Man from Zanjan. He is estimated to have been a miner who died in the 3rd or 4th century CE, but whose white-bearded head, leg in a leather boot, and tools were preserved by the salt in which he was buried.

Tehran is situated in the world’s most active seismic belt, which is thought to produce a severe earthquake in 150 years. Despite such background, significant urbanization has been made in the bustling metopolice while enough measures against a big-scale earthquake had not been taken.


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