Friday, April 3, 2009

Golden Chariot

Gold Model Chariot from the Oxus Treasure
Achaemenid Persian, 5th-4th century BC
From the region of Takht-i Kuwad, Tadjikistan
British Museum

In keeping with my commitment to a more well-rounded blog, I picked up The Atlas of the Ancient World, which was conveniently on one of our bookshelves (isn't it great living with someone who has a whole world of books you don't?). It is a great introduction to the history, culture and people of the ancient world (with great illustrations too!). So I just started to flip through it and got pulled in by this glorious gold chariot.

"The model chariot is pulled by four horses or ponies. In it are two figures wearing Median dress. The Medes were from Iran, the centre of the Achaemenid empire. The front of the chariot is decorated with the Egyptian dwarf-god Bes, a popular protective deity. The chariot can be compared with that shown being ridden by the Persian king Darius on a cylinder seal also in the British Museum." (British Museum description)

The Oxus Treasure is the most important surviving collection of Achaemenid Persian metalwork.

So there is a lot of information in this description that I know nothing about. A little research goes a long way though and I was curious about "Median dress". "Although slight variations exist, most images of Medes and descriptions of the standard Median costume consists of trousers, a fitted, sleeved top, and a tiara or cap, often with a peaked extension."(Phoenix Ancient Art S.A.)

If you click on the title, it will take you to the British Museum page with the object, where you can check out related objects of the period, as the British Museum has much of the Oxus Treasure.


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