Collection online

frieze / architrave

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Fragment of a carved black basalt frieze or a sculptured architrave depicting in high relief a roaring lion's head, originally set to look downwards.

  • Date

    • 1stC (probably)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 17.5 centimetres
    • Width: 13.5 centimetres
    • Thickness: 8 centimetres
    • Weight: 50 kilograms (according to Nersessian's exhibition catalogue)
  • Curator's comments

    Described on the plinth and in WAA Transfer book for 11.12.52 as "From the palace of Tiridates", but actually from the temple (now restored); date of acquisition on the plinth is also incorrect as Telfer died in 1907.see letter with map, ANE Corres 1938, q.v. E.H. King, dated 1 October 1938 (photograph captioned "Palace of King Tiridates of Armenia" filed in ANE D-book); object shown to Dr Vrej Nersessian, 4 October 1996; cf. also ANE Corres, 1996, q.v. Nersessian.


  • Bibliography

    • Arkelian B bibliographic details
    • Sahinyan A A 1983a (for restored position of similar fragments) bibliographic details
    • King 1939a p.150 (corrected earlier attribution and now recognised as being from "the 'king's [Tiridates] other palace at 'Karhni'") bibliographic details
    • King 1936a p.390 (mistakenly attributed as "the sole existing remnant of the palace of King Tiridates") bibliographic details
    • Telfer J B 1891a p.573 (refers to bringing this object to London) bibliographic details
    • Nersessian V 2001a pp.101-103, cat. 1 (discussion of the history of the site, this object and its likely date but with incorrect dimensions) bibliographic details
    • Telfer J B 1876a pp.221-22, and plate bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    2001 2 Mar-27 May, London, The British Library, 'Treasures from the Ark: 1700 Years of Armenian Christian Art'
    BM, upper WAA galleries.
    Exhibited by Telfer at a lecture entitled "Armenia and its people" and given to the Society of Arts, London, Tuesday 5 May 1891.

  • Condition


  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Collected at the ruined site in the 19th century by Telfer who bequeathed it in 1907. Caption on the plinth is incorrect as it states: "Portico of a frieze from the palace of Tiridates King of Armenia AD 100-300. Bequeathed by Captain J. Buchan Telfer R.N., F.S.A., 1903". WAA Transfer book: transferred to GR department 11 December 1952; transferred back to WAA 24 April 1996.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number



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Object reference number: WCO85439

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