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4 / Ceremony and Society

Procession of Tribute Bearers
Procession of Tribute Bearers
Artist / Origin Unknown artist(s), Persepolis
Region: West Asia
Date Achaemenid Period, 559–330 BCE
Period: 500 BCE - 1 CE
Material Stone relief
Medium: Sculpture
Location Persepolis, Iran
Credit © CORBIS

expert perspective

Patrick HuntDirector of the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project

Procession of Tribute Bearers

» Unknown artist(s), Persepolis

expert perspective

Patrick Hunt Patrick Hunt Director of the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project

Persepolis was first imagined as a monumental proclamation to the world of the vision and greatness, the cosmopolitan nature of ancient Persia—how it could take the best from all of the civilization around it. Persepolis was imagined to be a place of celebration, where all the different provinces, or satrapies, could come in monumental processions and visit the heart of Persia, the seat of the emperor.

The art of Persepolis, while it may evoke some of the same ideas of ceremony that you see in processions in Greek art or Egyptian art, it’s very different. The stateliness and dignity of the processants carrying tribute suggests in every way that these aren’t slaves; these are people with dignity who are bringing gifts not so much out of obligation as out of acknowledgement of greatness of an empire in which they were part.

Persepolis is a unique monument to the human love of beauty, aesthetics, splendor, drama.” 


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