- Room 6: Assyrian sculpture
- Room 7-8: Assyria: Nimrud
- Room 9: Assyria: Nineveh
- Room 10: Assyria: Lion hunts
- Room 10b: Assyria: Siege of La
- Room 10c: Assyria: Khorsabad
- Room 34: The Islamic world
- Room 52: Ancient Iran
- Room 53: Ancient South Arabia
- Room 54: Anatolia and Urartu
- Room 55: Mesopotamia
- Room 56: Mesopotamia
- Room 57-59: Ancient Levant
Ancient Iran (Room 52)
The Rahim Irvani Gallery
3000 BC – AD 651
Iran was a major centre of ancient culture. It was rich in valuable natural resources, especially metals, and played an important role in the development of ancient Middle Eastern civilisation and trade. Room 52 highlights these ancient interconnections and the rise of distinctive local cultures, such as in Luristan, during the age of migrations after about 1400 BC.
Gold griffin-headed armlet from the Oxus treasure, Achaemenid Persian, 5th-4th century BC
Stone relief showing a sphinx, 5th century BC
Cyrus Cylinder, Babylonian, about 539-530 BC
Silver plate showing Shapur II, Sasanian, 4th century AD
During the sixth century BC, Cyrus the Great founded a mighty Persian empire which eventually stretched from Egypt to Pakistan. Objects on display from this period include the Cyrus Cylinder and the Oxus Treasure. Monumental plaster casts of sculptures from Persepolis are also displayed in Room 52 and on the East stairs.
The later periods of the Parthian and Sasanian empires mark a revival in Iranian culture and are represented through displays including silver plates and cut glass.
explores how the birth of farming in the Middle East affected life in ancient Europe.