Gold head from the Oxus treasure

Achaemenid Persian, 5th-4th century BC
From the region of Takht-i Kuwad, Tadjikistan

This head is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. The treasure was found on the banks of the River Oxus and probably comes from a temple there. Most of the treasure dates from the fifth or fourth centuries BC, and many of the items are representative of what is described as Achaemenid court style, found throughout the empire and considered typical of the period. This head, though, is rather different, and may be of local manufacture.

The head is made of beaten gold and shows a beardless youth with pierced ears. It may have been part of a statue, perhaps in another material such as wood.

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More information


J. Curtis, Ancient Persia-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

M. Roaf, Cultural atlas of Mesopotamia (New York, 1990)


Height: 11.300 cm

Museum number

ME 123906


Bequeathed by Sir A.W. Franks


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