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Stucco column capital

 

Height: 20.000 cm
Width: 21.000 cm

Excavated by William Kennett Loftus

ME 92219

Room 52: Ancient Iran

    Stucco column capital

    Parthian, 1st-3rd centuries AD
    From Uruk, southern Iraq

    Portrait bust framed by acanthus leaves

    The use of carved or moulded stucco (gypsum plaster) decoration on buildings became popular in Mesopotamia during the first century AD. Classical and Near Eastern motifs are combined in this type of decoration. The designs were either cut in wet stucco or formed in moulds. They were originally painted in bright colours. An important group of decorative stuccoes, including this column capital, was excavated in the nineteenth century at a Parthian building at the site of Uruk

    The Parthian period witnessed many developments in architecture. During this time the iwan became a widespread architectural form. This was a great hall, open on one side with a high barrel-vaulted roof. Fast setting gypsum mortar was used in the construction. The increasing use of gypsum stucco decoration may be part of the same tradition.

    V.S. Curtis, 'Parthian costume and culture' in Mesopotamia and Iran in the -1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

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