- Museum number
Fragment of carved limestone relief: the figure is standing in a chariot box, the front part of which is preserved. It has rosettes around the edge. There is a quiver, decorated with overlapping scales, on the front of the box and another (only the top of which is visible) mounted on the side. The charioteer, wearing Persian dress, a pair of plain annular ear-rings and a twisted fillet around his head, holds a stick, and reins that pass over the backs of two horses and run through a terret that is set on the yoke. There is a fan-shaped yoke ornament above the terret and a tassel hangs down from the yoke. Second small fragment belongs to the top of the horses' manes. Originally joined a third fragment (now in the Miho Museum, but facsimile cast in BM) which shows the heads of the horses, tops of manes gathered into decorative tufts, with two pairs of boar's tusk strap separators and bar cheekpieces; plume on the top of the rein guide, with large tassel dangling below. It would originally have been part of a scene that showed a procession of Persian guards, followed by an usher and four grooms carrying whips, saddle cloths and a stool, then an usher with three horses and grooms, and finally another usher with two royal chariots each pulled by two horses.
- Production date
- 6thC BC-5thC BC
Height: 55 centimetres
Weight: 22 kilograms (cast of heads, weighed for G52, March 2007)
Weight: 127 kilograms (large fragment, weighed for G52, March 2007)
Weight: 2 kilograms (small fragment, weighed for G52, March 2007)
Thickness: 10.50 centimetres
Width: 77 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Part of the uppermost register at the far left side of the east wing of the north staircase of the Apadana, showing a row of two chariots (for position, cf. Schmidt 1953: 'Persepolis I', pls 54, 57). A coloured cast of the joining head, measuring 88 x 56 cm. and belonging to the Miho Museum was substituted for the original on display in G52 in August 2003 when the original head was returned to Japan. The present reconstruction at the site makes it clear that this relief must be from the front chariot, and that 118851 belongs to the front of the chariot behind.
The heads of the horses are preserved on a fragment that is now in the Miho Museum in Japan. This fragment was found with the main piece at Persepolis in 1811, but was apparently given to Sir Gore Ouseley and became part of his collection. It passed to his son Sir Frederick Ouseley who founded a school called St Michael's College inTenbury, England. After the school closed down in 1985 the relief was sold at auction and was eventually purchased by the Miho Museum.
The cast is listed as available in the British Museum Facsimile Service 'Catalogue of Replicas from British Museum collections' (n.d.), in the series "Persia".
- On display (G52/dc5)
- Exhibition history
2012 24 May-30 Sep, London, BM, 'The horse: from Arabia to Royal Ascot'.
2006 7 Mar-11 Jun, Barcelona, Fundacion La Caixa, 'L'imperi Oblidat'
2005-2006 Sept-Jan, London, BM, 'Forgotten Empire'
Exhibition: Miho Museum, Japan
1995-2005 17 Nov-5 Dec, BM, G52/IRAN
1994 16 Jun-23 Dec, BM, G49/IRAN/ex-case
1975 Jul-ca 1990 - BM, Iranian Room [IR], ex-case
Probably displayed in the first Iranian Room, 1937/38
Probably displayed in the Assyrian Transept (west wall), 1865-1937/38.
Grand Central Saloon, middle shelf in recess on the left side of the gallery; described in the Synopsis, autumn 1831-1865.
- Incomplete; two joining fragments with third belonging to the Miho Museum; light brownish surface, retouched. Joins fragment loaned by Miho Museum which is uncleaned and has extensive spots of original lichen.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Acquired in July 1811 during the time of the visit to the site by Sir Gore Ouseley, British Ambassador to Tehran 1810-15.
See trustees standing committee minutes and xerox of donor's letter from 'Letters on Antiquities'.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number