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THE LAST DYNASTY: Sassanian Glory Exhibit In Paris


Report from Paris, France  by Darius KADIVAR



The Exhibition entitled Les Perses Sassanides, Fastes d'un Empire Oublié exhibits at the  Cernuschi, Museum Paris, France 15th September to 30th December 2006. More than 200 items are presented at the exhibition and borrowed from the most prestigious international collections from museums in the United States, Europe and Iran testify of the diversity of this sumptuous art and of its various influences combining ancient Greek and authentic Persian traditions.


The exhibition is held under the patronage of the Cernuschi Museum, Museum of Asian Arts of the city of Paris and the Department of Oriental Antiquities of the Louvre Museum. 


The Sassanian Dynasty ruled for over 4 centuries (224-642), from the 2nd Century A.D. to the Arab invasion. In 224 A.D. Ardeshir, a Prince of the region of Fars/Pars in the south west of Iran, overthrows Artaban, the master of the Parthian Empire and creates a new dynasty known as the Sassanian inspired by his ancestor Sassan. They will rule for over  than 4 centuries  establishing itself as one of the greatest empires of the Ancient World and much vaster than that of the Aechemenid Empire which they consider themselves as the inheritors. At crossroads between civilizations of the East such as China and of the West such as the Roman Empire and later the Byzantine, the Sassanians imposed themselves as a major super power of its time.



The core of the Sassanian Art is the glorified image of the King who is identified as the unifying force that holds the empire together and represents the authority of the Crown. The King dominates the court scenes, and is present in all Hunting and Banquet scenes carved in the mountain or on most items such as ruby encrusted metal Vases and artifacts.



© Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224-642 OSPREY, Angus McBride



The Kings court was equally sumptuous with grand parties given for princes and nobles of allied kingdoms. This ostentatious splendor encourages more "minor" arts. Silver dishes encrusted by gold coins featuring the King, Cups and Amphora's decorated by symbols related to Mazdean religion ( Pre-Islamic monotheistic religion) or  shows dancers, musicians and jesters. Fine Crockery, rich silk, ceremonial jewel encrusted swords and gold or silver coins are displayed at the exhibition.



The diversity of the items presented at this exhibition testifies if needed of the great aura and prestige of the last Persian Dynasty before its fatal fall under the Muslim Conquest.   



Author's notes:


-Recommended Reading : Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224-642 by Dr. Kaveh Farrokh, Illustrated by Angus McBride



General Info:

Scientific Commissary invited : Françoise Demange, chief conservator of the Department of Oriental Antiquities of the Louvre Museum. 


Commissaries: Gilles Béguin, General director conservator of the Cernuschi museum.

Nicolas Engel, Conservator of the Cernuschi museum

Press Contact:

Daniele Guyot
Tél. : 01 42 76 65 66
Musée Cernuschi

Maryvonne Deleau, PR & Press
Tel : 01 53 96 21 72 / fax : 01 53 96 21 96




About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Media Consultant, and European Correspondent for the  OCPC Magazine.


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