Myths from Persia, £8.99
Gold belt buckle with an eagle and goat
Parthian, about 1st century AD
Said to be from the Nahavand area, Iran
The eagle was a symbol of Parthian kingship
This gold belt buckle is inlaid with turquoise and a brown stone. It was said to orginally come from the treasure of the Karen Pahlavs (or Zafar Sultan), which was said to have been found in a chamber-tomb near Nahavand but there is no evidence to support this story. It has a companion piece in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The eagle was a symbol of Parthian kingship. The eagle and goat are the same as those represented on a monument of Antiochus I of Commagene (one of the many semi-independent regions of the Parthian Empire).
Much of the information we have about Parthian jewellery comes from a study of the sculptures and coins of the time, with some parallels on Gandharan sculptures from Pakistan. It was worn by both men and women in great profusion. Traces of paint still adhering to some Palmyrene sculptures prove it was highly coloured.
J. Curtis, Ancient Persia-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)
D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
V.S. Curtis, 'Parthian costume and culture' in Mesopotamia and Iran in the -1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)