Painted Bricks of Iranian Iron Age: Typology and Function

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 PH.D. inDepartment of Archaeology, Faculty of Restoration, Isfahan Art University, Isfahan, Iran

2 Professor of Archeology Department, Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

The study of architecture and architectural decorations is one of the most basic archaeological tools for recognition of ancient cultures and societies. However, despite its importance as the prologue of Iranian architecture in the historical period (i.e., Median and Persian architecture), Iranian Iron Age architecture has been studied less than it deserves. Painted bricks and tiles— which are found across different regions of Iran, e.g., the Northwest, Luristan and the Central Plateau at ancient sites such as Hasanlu, Qalaichi, Rabat, Baba Jan, Qoli Darvish, Sialk, Shamshirgah and Gholam Tape—are among the most significant elements of Iron Age architecture, about which our knowledge has grown considerably over the last few decades. The present article deals with the descriptions of the aforementioned bricks and their typology. We try to show how much these bricks have been influenced by the art of neighboring nations. This article also aims to indicate the function of these painted bricks, and by extension, the function of the buildings which these bricks adorned. The research results suggest that these bricks can be divided into three distinct categories that are consistent with a triple political and geographical division of Iran during the first half of the first millennium BCE. The research also shows that despite the fact that these bricks have been influenced by the art of neighboring regions, they are indigenous and have been made by native artisans. It seems that the painted bricks of the Iranian Iron Age are mostly used in religious buildings and temples of this time.

Keywords


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  • Receive Date: 31 May 2019
  • Revise Date: 21 January 2020
  • Accept Date: 20 February 2020
  • First Publish Date: 08 May 2021