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Izeh

Izeh is the capital of Izeh County in Khuzestan Province.

Near Izeh are a series of Elamite rock carvings. One of these, at Kuh-e Farah (VIII century BC), represents, in superimposed registers, long processions of worshippers and is believed to have influenced the composition of the Achaemenian bas-reliefs on the staircases at Persepolis.

Izeh has temperate weather in spring and summer, although in winter it is usually the coldest city in the Khuzestan province. Izeh is populated by Bakhtiari Lurs, a tribe living in the northern part of the Khuzestan area. It is an agricultural rather than an industrial city. The foremost product is rice (locally called Berenj) that mostly comes from Susan, Sheyvand, Meydavood and Chitanbe.

Izeh also has mines of rocks and minerals. It is famous for its dam and ancient monuments that are located in Kul-e Farah, Eshkaft-e Salman, Khongazhdar, Tagh e Tavileh, Shir-e Sangi (Stone Lion cemetery), Shahsavar relief, Khong e Kamalvand, Khong e Ajdar, Khong e Yaralivand and Sheyvand relief.

In the Elamite period it was known as Ayapir and sometimes Ayatem. Arabs called the town as Idhaj. The local dynasty of Lor Atabakan the Greats (Atabakan-e-Lor-e-Bozorg) renamed it in Malemir or Malmir ("king’s house" or "capital"). This name has been used until 1935 when with government’s approval, it is changed again to Izeh.

About 40 kilometres north of Izeh, in the Bakhtiari Hills, is the site of Shami, where the famous bronze statue of a Parthian prince, now on show in the Archaeological Museum in Tehran, was found. The remains of a Seleucid and Parthian temple as well as a terrace are still visible at the site.


Kul-e Farah IKul-e Farah I

Elamite rock relief said Kul-e Farah I depicting a religious office at Kul-e Farah, on a rock cliff at the South East of Izeh, ancient elamite city of Ayapir. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, as many other at izeh. The relief is the Ist of a serial of 6 carved in a little gorge, covering either isolated rocks and cliffs. This one was attributed to King Hanni , 7-8th centuries BCE, because of the cuneiform inscription covering almost the surface of the relief. The scene shows King Hanni performing a sacrificial religious office, with priests and ranges of devots. Animal (Asian bulls)can be seen alive broughts to the altar, or dead lying down after the ritual. Religious theme is a classic in Elamite rock reliefs, often shoing ranges of outnumbering devots praying or dancing, covering all the surface of multiple rocks. This relief covers a single surface, but all the place is exploited by the carving or the inscription. no perspective exist at this time into the representation. King Hanni'tall is major compared to the other character, as a sign of royalty, although he is represented joining the hands in a humble attitude. ,King Hanni also carved 4 at Eskaft-e Salman at the south West of Izeh.

Kul-e Farah IIKul-e Farah II

Elamite rock relief said Kul-e Farah II detailing a sacrifice at Kul-e Farah, on an isolated rock at the South East of Izeh, ancient elamite city of Ayapir. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, as many others at izeh. The relief is the IInd of a serial of 6 carved in a little gorge, covering either isolated rocks and cliffs. This one dates of the 7-8th centuries BCE, as the others of this site. The scene shows either a high priest or a king in praying attitude, ordering a sacrificial religious office, with behind him, a little range of 4 praying devots. The sacrifice scene is detailed at the right side of the rock: dead bodies of Asian bulls are superposed while one is just killed, with a priest searching probably for its heart into the thorace. Religious theme is a classic in Elamite rock reliefs, often showing ranges of outnumbering devots praying or dancing, covering all the surface of multiple rocks. In this relief, the very low number of devots does not cover all the rock’s surface, in contradiction with the other reliefs. No perspective yet existed at this time into the fashion of representative art. The tall of the main character is major compared to the others, sign of a big social rank, if not a royal rank.

Kul-e Farah III SouthKul-e Farah III South

The elamite rock relief said Kul-e Farah III is carved on an isolated rock at the South East of Izeh, ancient elamite city of Ayapir. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, as many others at Izeh. The relief is the IIIrd of a serial of 6 carved in a little gorge, covering either isolated rocks and cliffs. This one dates of the 7-8th centuries BCE, as the others of this site. All 4 sides of this cubic rock are carved on the whole surface. The south side scene shows either a high priest or a king in praying attitude, ordering a sacrificial religious office, with behind and in front of him, ranks on uncountable praying and dancing devots. Although the posture of the characters is stereotyped in a humble attitude, one of the rank is particular, showing a rare dynamic scene of dance or rejoicing characters. Religious theme is a classic in Elamite rock reliefs, often showing ranges of outnumbering devotes praying or dancing, covering all the surface of the rock. No perspective yet existed at this time into the fashion of representative art. The tall of the main character is major compared to the others, sign of a big social rank, if not a royal rank. 

Kul-e Farah IVKul-e Farah IV

Detail of the elamite rock relief said Kul-e Farah IV: Audience scene or religious office sowing at the upper part, an enthroned king with high priest surrouded by ranks of adoring/praying devotes. Here, the dimensions of the main character are remarkably low, about the same as the dimensions of the other characters. But the central position on the upper part of the scene signs the royal rank of the character, as the fact of seating on a throne. Some details still remain, as the very classic elamite hat with anterior projection.

The relief is the 4th of a set of 6 carved on rocks and cliffs of a little gorge at the South East of Izeh, ancient elamite city of Ayapir. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, This one, as the others of this site dates of the 7-8th centuries BCE.It consists in the representation of either a royal audience, or a religious office, featuring a female character as testify the dressing, haircut, and of a high social rank if not royal as testify the bigger dimensions compared to the other characters. This main character is is surrounded by multiple ranks of praying or adoring devotes, the ranks are carved on all the disposable surfaces left by the rocks and the natural volumes. The position of the ranks is determined by the form of the roc, ranks can then be separated by large natural riffs. Another royal character is shown enthroned. The carving is not deep, using a very slight volume, enabling the possibility of perspective. Added to such technical factors, the location on a cliff, unprotected by an upper volume, explains why most of the relief is so damaged. Such religious and royal representation is a classic theme in the elamite art of rock reliefs. The disposition in ranks probably inspired the later Persian achaemenian reliefs as one can see in Naqsh-e Rostam or in Persepolis 

Kul-e Farah VKul-e Farah V

The elamite rock relief said Kul-e Farah V is carved on the rocky cliff of a small gorge located at the South East of Izeh, ancient elamite city of Ayapir. The relief is the 5th of a set of 6 scenes covering either isolated rocks and cliffs, carved at either the 7th or the 8th centuries BCE. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, as many others at Izeh. The scene describes a religious office performed by either a high priest or a king. The dressing and hat are typical of this era. Behind this main character, little ranks of adoring devotes represented in praying attitude can be seen, limited by the poor dimensions of the usable surface. In front of the main character, several dead animals being sacrificed can be distinguished although badly damaged by erosion and time. The religious theme is a classic in the elamite art of rock relief, often showing ranges of outnumbered devotes praying or dancing, covering all the possible surface of the rock or cliff. No perspective yet existed at this time into the fashion of representative art. The tall of the main character is major compared to the others, sign of a big social rank, if not a royal rank. 

Kul-e Farah VIKul-e Farah VI

The elamite rock relief said Kul-e Farah VI is carved on an isolated rock at the entry of a small gorge located at the South East of Izeh, ancient elamite city of Ayapir. The relief is the 6th of a set of 6 scenes covering either isolated rocks and cliffs, carved at either the 7th or the 8th centuries BCE. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, as many others at Izeh.

Although the relief was badly damaged by time and erosion if not by vandalism, several character can be distinguished yet: the main character, either a high priest or a king, seem performing a religious office followed by several others arranged in ranks. His dressing and hat are typical of this era. The religious theme is a classic in the elamite art of rock relief, often showing ranges of outnumbered devotes praying or dancing, covering all the possible surface of the rock or cliff. No perspective yet existed at this time into the fashion of representative art. The tall of the main character is major compared to the others, sign of a big social rank, if not a royal rank. 

Mithridates's victoryMithridates's victory

Parthian rock relief of Xung-e Ajdar, also known as Hung-e Nowrouzi at Izeh. Following the artistic path of the Lullubies, Elamites, Achaemenian Persian, and Seleucids, The Parthian rulers used the ancient Iranian art of Rock relief to mark the foundation of their new empire, and carved many of their reliefs on previous Elamite, Lullubies, or Achaemenian sites such as Bisotun, Izeh, or Sarpol-e Zahab, as an affirmation of continuity with previous Iranian dynasties.

On an artistic point, several differences distinguish the Parthian art of rock relief:

1) Compared to the Achaemenian reliefs, results of a very official imperial art, the Parthian reliefs are more a provincial issues, ordered by local princes and carved by local artists, concentrated in the south of antic Kurdestan (actual Kermanshah province), and in the ancient Elymaid (Bakhtiari mountains in Khouzestan). Ancient Elamite, Lusites

2) Their themes are profane, and not religious. They introduce sceneries of resting, pleasure (drinking), hunting, and animal figures such as horses, and will strongly influence the later themes of the sasanian Persian rock reliefs. The influence from the Greeks remains important, as greek inscriptions or Nike goddess figures of winged victories testify.

3) Their fashion is rude (not deeply carved), representations are statics, undynamic, and frontal, fixing the spectator with big slide opened eyes.

The Xung-e Ajdar rock relief is very important, being the first carved by the Parthian. The site choosen is Izeh, the ancient elamite city of Ayapir, wich hosts several Elamite rock reliefs. The relief was carved on an isolated rock, at the opposed side of a little Elamite relief. It shows Noblemen, princes, or courtiers paying alledgence to a horseman, identified as being Mithidates The great of Parthia. The relief has also 2 artistic particularities: first representation of a horse, and rare profile representation of a character. While the king parades on his horse followed by a servant walking, the courtiers either pay him respect by elevating an arm or join their hand in a humble attitude. Their baggy trousers are still worn in Iran. A winged Nike fly over the scene, blessing the winner. A similar scene was carved at Behistun.

Eshkaft-e Salman I Eshkaft-e Salman I 

Elamite rock relief said Eshkaft-e Salman I depicting a religious office at Eshkaft-e Salman (Salomon’s cave), also known as the “temple of Tarisha”. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard. The relief is the first of a serial of 4 carved in and around the spring located in the cave by Elamite King Hanni, 7-8th centuries BCE. Religious theme is a classic in Elamite rock reliefs, and it is not surprising to find such reliefs around a spring as water was holy. But the first and second reliefs of the site are also remarquable for having a family theme with the very first representations of a queen : from the left to the right, it shows Shutruru (high priest and dignitary) performing the office above an altar, then King Hanni with hands joined, one of his sons, then the queen with a gesture of respect . After Elamite times, no queen will be represented on any rock relief until Sasanian king Ardashir I's relief at Naqsh-e Rajab IIIand the second Persian empire. Cuneiform inscriptions written in Neo-Elamite explains the scene. All the characters look in the direction of the spring.

Eshkaft-e Salman IIEshkaft-e Salman II

Elamite rock relief said Eshkaft-e Salman II depicting a religious office at Eshkaft-e Salman (Salomon’s cave), also known as the “temple of Tarisha”. It was discovered in the 19th century by the british orientalist traveller and archaeologist Austen Henry Layard. The relief is the 2nd of a serial of 4 carved in and around the spring located in the cave by Elamite King Hanni , 7-8th centuries BCE. Religious theme is a classic in Elamite rock reliefs, and it is not surprising to find such reliefs around a spring as water was holy. But the first and second reliefs of the site are also remarquable for having a family theme with the very first representations of a queen : from the left to the right, it shows King Hanni, one of his sons, then the queen. All After Elamite times, no queen will be represented on any rock relief until Sasanian king Bahram II and the second Persian empire. Cuneiform inscriptions written in Neo-Elamite explains the scene. All the characters look in the direction of the spring, and are represented joining the hands in a humble attitude.

 

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