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Showing 3 results for Persian Gulf.

Alireza Khosrowzadeh, Siamak Sarlak,
year 2, Issue 3 (5-2018)

Due to few is excavated Sasanian sites in southwestern Iran and Persian Gulf, the region still lacks a securely dated pottery assemblage from this period, which renders identification of the Sassanid sites there extremely difficult. Therefore, a reliably dated ceramic collection is essential for better understanding of the Sassanid period. The present paper addresses this issue and sets to introduce one of the typical type of Sassanid pottery of southeast Iran based on material recorded during surveys and excavations at Southeast of Iran and northern and southern coast of Persian Gulf. This type which is famous to fine orange painted ware or “Namord” Widely distributed in the Northern and Southern coasts of the Persian Gulf and Southeast of Iran. This type was only obtained from excavated sites at Kush, Mleiha and ed-Dur in United Arabian Emirate, Tape Yahya in Kerman and Tame Maroun in Minab. Also many of these types have been found in survey of these areas. There are two type of Namord ware; one type is belonging to late Parthian period and another one dated back to early and middle Sassanid period. Due to the wide distribution of the Namord ware in southeast of Iran and northern and southern beaches of the Persian Gulf, probably, this type of pottery in the Persian Gulf has been used as a kind of commercial goods. The absence Namord ware in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia is representing close relationships between eastern parts of the Persian Gulf (Emirates and Oman) and south and southeast beaches of Iran. Also, the existence of Namord ware in Gana of Yemen, is represents expanding the trade of this pottery to the east beaches of the Indian Ocean.
Keywords: Namord Ware, Sassanid, Southeast, Persian Gulf.

As we know, pottery in the Sassanid period like the Parthian period has been local style, and each region of Iran in this period have been a special style of pottery. One of the areas, that Sassanid pottery in it little known, is southeast of Iran and the Persian Gulf beaches. A very large part of southeastern Iran (Kerman, Hormozgan, Sistan and Baluchestan provinces) in terms of archeology is less recognize than other parts of Iran. Unfortunately, due to the lack of archaeological excavations in this area of Iran, we can’t present correct theory about Sassanid pottery this area. One of the most important sites in the south east (that has the Sassanid period) is Tape Yahya in the southeast of Baft county near of Soghan. The Tame Maroun is another important Sassanid site. Sarlak based on the pottery obtained from different layers of this site, five cultural periods have been identified on this site (Sarlak, 2011: 374). Emirates and Oman (that have done more excavations in them) are located in the cultural area of the southern of Persian Gulf. The Sohar excavations in Oman, and excavations of Addor, Koush, and Meliha in Emirates are most important excavations in this area. Koush is important of site in southern beaches of the Persian Gulf that has a fairly accurate chronology. Based on excavations done in this site, period 1 is the oldest settelement in Koush, includes two steps of brick building that can be related to 6th and 7th century AD (Kennet, 2005). From this period (6th and 7th century AD) has been obtained large number of pottery related to Namord. In addition to excavation, a lot of surveys have also been conducted in this cultural area. These surveys have been done by Descartes, Potts, and … In these surveys have been obtained large number of pottery related to Namord.
Pottery dispersion of Namord in southeast of Iran and northern beaches of Persian Gulf
In 1983 Seyyed Mansour Seyyed Sajjadi with an archaeological team was surveyed Rodbar valley in southern Kerman. Seyyed Sajjadi was obtained Namord ware from the four sites of Ghaleh Kharg, Dogari, Tamb Namord, and Sitamb. Also, this pottery has been obtained from the layer 1 of Tape Yahya. Furthermore, Namord ware has been obtained from the third period of the Tame Maroun. Namord ware in third period of the Tame Maroun has red and orange paste. This type of pottery in Bushehr has orange color and with gravel temper. Also, Namord ware is obtained in surveys conducted in Damb Koh and Qeshm Island.

Pottery dispersion of Namord in the southeast of Saudi Arabia and the south beaches of Persian Gulf
The Namord ware is obtained in Alganam Island, Addor, Koush, Meliha, and Tal Abrak. From the Meliha fort has been obtained a few glasses of delicate and painted from the type of Namord. The paste of this pottery in Meliha is so stiff and has orange color. In surveys of northern Oman in the peninsula of Mosandam has been obtained samples similar to painted pottery of Namord.

Due to Widespread of Namord ware in southeastern Iran and northern and southern beaches of the Persian Gulf, probably, this pottery as a commodity has been exchanged between the north and south of the Persian Gulf. Trade this pottery have probably been for the quality this type of pottery. Namord ware has been obtained most from areas the eastern of the Persian Gulf, especially from Alganam Island, Addor, Koush, Meliha, and Tal Abrak. It seems, this type of pottery has been produced in one or two small areas (probably in Minab plain and Halil Roud), and has been exported to other places as a valuable commodity.

Armin Sheikhi, Morteza Hessari, Mossayeb Amiri,
year 6, Issue 19 (5-2022)

Pottery can perhaps be considered one of the most important data found in archaeological excavations in order to help clarify the unknowns of any ancient site and answer questions. This data shows one important part of human interactions in the past. By examining this data, various approaches are available to archaeologists, the prerequisite of which is to be purposeful and act correctly in pottery typology. By studying the pottery of the Parthian period of the and the spread of its types in the Persian Gulf, one of the hand, the cultural expansion of the Parthians in the south of Iran an on the other hand due to its geographical expansion in the south of the Persian Gulf, the seafaring of the Parthians in the northern and southern coasts of the Persian Gulf. The purpose of writing this article is to investigate the types of Parthian pottery in the south of Iran and to document the cultural connections between the settlements  in the north and south of the Persian Gulf , then to present a picture of seafaring in the Persian Gulf and the cultural expansion of the Parthians in the Arabian Peninsula. In this article, the Parthian pottery types of the Tom-Maron will be analyzed and classified based on the archeological excavation documents of the area. The most important question in this research is the pottery characteristics of the Parthian period of the Tom-Maron, then we are looking for the question that the cultural development of the Parthian period based on the findings of the Tom-Maron was formed under what factors? This research clearly showed that based on the method of making the color of the body and the paste, 10 types of Parthian pottery can be classified in Tom-Maron. The species identified with the sites of the coasts and islands of the northern Persian Gulf, such as Qeshm Island, Makran regions, and also the southern coasts of the Persian Gulf, such as the Maliha site, form a cultural domain. 
Keywords: Pottery of the Parthian, Rodan Plain, Tom-Maron, Persian Gulf.

Investigating the cultural materials of different cultural periods in the areas along the Persian Gulf, as a historical and strategic waterway, has always been of interest to rulers near and far, and has been the place of passage for ships of culture and civilizations of the East and the West for thousands of years. In the meantime, due to its location on the banks and back banks of the Persian Gulf and its vital and strategic waterways, namely the Strait of Hormuz, throughout history, the Rodan plain has a very important position from a historical-cultural, political-social, and of course, economic point of view. (Hessari, 2018).
The purpose of writing the article is to investigate the types of Parthian pottery in the south of Iran and to document the cultural connections between the settlements in the north and south of Persian Gulf. In this framework, cultural interactions will be discussed in this period in order to pottery a suitable picture of the relations between the two coasts of the Persian Gulf, which showed the cultural expansion of the Parthians through seafaring in the Persian Gulf. In this article, the pottery types of the Parthian period of Tom-Maron will be analyzed and classified based on the archeological excavation documents of the area. The most important question of this research is the pottery characteristics of the Parthian period of the Tom-Maron can the distribution of these types be a sign of cultural interactions on both sides of the Persian Gulf? Then the cultural development of the Parthian period was formed under what factors based on the findings of the Tom-Maron? This research clearly showed that based on the method of making, the color of the body and the paste in the Tom-Maron, 10 types of Parthian pottery can be classified. About 10 samples of Parthian period pottery were found in this area (Table 1). Among the prominent examples of the Parthian period, we can mention Namord and Lando (Figure 8) was found in prominent sites in the north of the Persian Gulf, such as Reyshahr (Whitechouse & Williamson, 1973). Dambkouh (Basafa, 2008: 24, PL), (row 9, table 1). Regarding the chronology of this type of pottery, Potts has classified them into two old Parthian periods, the first and second centuries AD, and the new type in the early Sassanian period (Potts, 1998: 211).
Single yellow glazed pottery (Fig 6), turquoise monochrome (Fig 7) and pottery with gray paste (Fig 5) are also examples of Parthian pottery from this area in the northern regions of the Persian Gulf , especially in the Qeshm region (Khosrowzadeh , 1392) has been obtained (rows 4,5&6 of Table 1). Other types of pottery with pea-colored paste (Fig 3) and brown brick- like paste (Fig 2) have also been introduced as pottery of this period due to their placement in the layers of the Parthian period , in terms of the comparative of these pottery with the sites of northeastern Iran, such as the Ismail Abad Neishabour site (Davari et al, 2017). In this context, it can be said that one of the most important types of pottery found in this area is Namord pottery. Considering the widespread distribution of Namord pottery in the southeast of Iran and the northern and southern coasts of the Persian Gulf, this type of pottery was probably exchanged in the Persian Gulf as a commodity in a limited and local trade between the northern and southern areas of the Persian Gulf. Although Williamson has proposed the Rodan plain and Minab region as the production area of this type of pottery (Williamson. 1972), the Namord type pottery of Tom-Maron area is also similar in terms of identifying comparable samples in areas such as Kush (Kennet 6.fig :2002). Maliha was obtained on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf.

The connection of the Persian Gulf of Iran is not limited to its geographical proximity, but this sea along with its islands and coasts has been a part of Iran’s territory and culture in different historical periods and is a symbol of the manifestations and works of Iranian culture. In this research, according to the distribution and typology of Parthian period pottery in the Tom-Maron area, the relationship of this area with the areas of the same period was investigated. Based on the present research, 10 types of Parthian period pottery were identified. The results of the typological comparisons show that the similarities between the Parthian pottery of the Rodan region and the neighboring regions, as well as their differences with the distant regions, indicate a wide connection between these regions. Based on the characteristics and typology of the pottery of Tom-Maron site and the remains of pottery kilns, it can be concluded that this site was one of the main centers of Parthian pottery production on the northern shores of the Persian Gulf. The pottery of the northern coasts of the Persian Gulf, Kerman, northeastern Iran, and the southern coastal areas of Persian Gulf have the most similarities with the pottery of Tom-Maron. Also, based on the archaeological excavations of Tom-Maron and the evidence and data obtained, it seems that the Parthian period sites in Rodan plain follow a homogeneous cultural pattern with other sites on the same horizon in the cultural area of the Persian Gulf. The examples of Parthian pottery in the southern countries of the Persian Gulf also apply due to areas from the northern Persian Gulf and its extensive production in those settlements.

Daryoosh Akbarzadeh,
year 6, Issue 19 (5-2022)

Sasanian Silver Bowl at the National Museum of Iran, known as the “dancer-musicians scene”, has been one of the museum’s most archaeological works for the past sixty years. According to Ali Sami, this bowl was purchased in 1334 (1955); it is attributed to the north of Iran (Kelardasht of Mazandaran). The palm-shaped head of this bowl shows four dancer-musician-singers with four different well-known musical instruments as well as a figure of a pheasant in the center. In all previous scholarly works, as well as in the many exhibitions in which this bowl has been displayed, this work has been referred to as the motif of the “female dancers-musicians”. However, doubtful interpretations of musical instruments of the motif can be found in the same scholarly works. Obviously Iranian scholars to the internally held exhibitions have followed previously mentioned works. The author will first challenge the “femininity” of these four dancer-musician-singers and will testify the view that three of them are only masculine. Secondly, I will present a new proposal to the readers with a different interpretation of these Iranian music instruments. Also, the author considers this bowl to probably be a heritage from the Persian Gulf (southern, not northern Iran). Furthermore, I will also focus on the identity of these dancer-musicians in such a musical group scene as “Indian gypsies” or at least inspired by such a musical style. The author will also refer to two other lesser-known similar bowls of the Museum. Meanwhile, the author will present a new perspective on the date of this silver object which is based on its motif details and two more Silver Works at the National Museum of Iran. In this comparative study, I will draw a line between the three motifs (of the bowls, especially two of them) based on the two seasons of “winter and spring (or summer)”!
Keywords: Sasanian Silver Bowl, National Museum of Iran, Musician-dancers Scene, Kelardasht, India Gypsy, Persian Gulf.

Much has been said and written about the Persian Gulf. Since more than 500 years ago until now, about cultural landscapes, art, music, clothing, food styles to different harbors and etc. through foreign travelogues and Iranian documents can be attributed to colorful valuable data on the Persian Gulf. Archaeology has also testified a large tangible data about Iranian identity over the Persian Gulf. Pre-historic objects to the valuable inscription of Darius the Great obtained from the Suez Canal to other archeological finds from Bushehr, Siraf, Kharg, Qeshm, Hormoz, etc., are proof of this claim. Zoroastrianism legacy in Saudi Arabia and especially Yemen to recent Sasanian coins from the United Arab Emirates, Sasanian fortresses in Oman (cf. Potts, 2012: online)... can be proof of our historical ownership of the Persian Gulf.
Nevertheless, the article stresses on a review of a Sasanian magnificent artistic relic in the National Museum of Iran. This masterpiece frequently has been referred for at least the lasxty years. This significant object has been displayed in most of exhibitions from the inside to the abroad. This Sasanian heritage has been published in most of the catalogs of the National Museum of Iran and international exhibitions. This very beautiful Sasanian work, “silver bowl” known as the “scene of dancer-musicians” with registry number 1332, weight 575.7, diameter 22.55 cm, and height 7 cm, obtained from Kelardasht (?), Mazandaran.

ConclusionUndoubtedly, the Sasanian silver bowl at the National Museum of Iran can be studied from a new perspective. This view can challenge all previous scholarly works from two different aspects.
First, the musical instruments portrayed on this work can testify to its interrelationship with the shores of the Persian Gulf. For example, Castanet or Sinj is a typical instrument. There is a golden shipwreck’s photo (with eight musicians-singers), has some similarities with the silver bowls of the National Museum of Iran, on the website of Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore.6 According to the website, the work has been discovered from a Persian Gulf bound ship drowned near Indonesia. However, the author has doubts about authenticity of this report! 
Although there are few written archaic texts but these instruments have been valid from generation to generation in Iran as endorsed by sources in Sasanian, Post-Sasanian, oral history as well as archeological documents until they have reached our time. 
Most Post-Sasanian sources have preserved valuable information about Arghanun, sorena, lute (barbat) and even chime.7 Although Zoroastrian texts do not help on such a topic but the story of Khusraw ī kawādān ud rēdak (Oryan, 2004: 58) mentioned some of the best musicians: “harp-players, lute-players, wan players,8 tambour players, and reed players.” 
Chime (cf. Ibn Sina)9 is one of the oldest musical instruments in southern Iran. The Haft-Joush (seven parts) chime was also one of the most common of these musical instruments; the Indian type of which (made of bronze) had a special reputation in Bushehr (Darvishi, 2004: 540,32). Type of the short handled and tied to the fingers have been (and still are) the most common chimes in southern Iran (for the same instrument, see: Gunter and Jett, 1992: 191).
Another important fact is that the production and control of the melody with these four instruments were very difficult for females (women); three of them (bowl) still considered male instruments. In Taq Bostan too, sorena and a kind of arghanun (or bagpipe, maybe nay-e anban) are played by men where females are depicted as tambourine and harp players (farmer, 1964: 96). Both of these latter instruments have always been depicted and described in this way (female).
So, the gender of the musicians will be the second key point of this object. It is as if the previous works did not pay attention to the connection between the “type of instrument and the type of gender” which, according to the tradition, they were at least skilled players. 
The story of “ Khusraw ī kawādān ud rēdak “ (Oryan, 2004: 96) describes “a sweet-singing-dancer and a beauty with big breasts, wasp waist, black and long hair ...”. Here are two questions:
1. Whether the female musician-dancer figures on the Sasanian silver legacy, with big breasts, slim waist and charming disheveled hair (National Museum of Iran, cf. fig. 6) cannot be a seal of endorsing the above-mentioned Pahlavi text? If that is the case, which I believe it is:
2. Isn’t this (description) contrary to the motif of the musicians of the silver bowl at the National Museum?
This issue of course according to the type of make-up and body shape confirms that three of them are males. Therefore, in the dance-music scene of other objects, the shawl on the breast (or part of it such as Bishapur mosaic), from behind (such as the silver decanter at the National Museum) or above the head like a sunshade (fig. 9) can be seen. Here, the shawl is skillfully placed on privy parts (low body) by the craftsman in order to have observed Iranian ethics (of course with partial rotation of the body). If in other objects, the shawl plays a role in covering the breasts of women, here it covers probably their low bodies.  This is not very compatible with Roman art!
In the Sasanian silver decanter at the National Museum, despite a kind of decorated forehead, the hair of the musician is hung from both sides towards the shoulders but here typical long-braided hair can remind us of Indian style which impacted the Persian Gulf coasts. However, no trace of the hair of the above mentioned musicians can be seen here, and they wear a head-gear (with two different logos on the forehead in pairs) that is fastened with a bandage under the throat (it is unlikely to be a hair strand). On this bowl, the whole body (with details) is portrayed in front and the head is turned to another side (profile), something that does not occur much with other works. The highly balanced and professional limbs of these dancer-musician-singers indicate their affiliation with a professional group. The beautiful and balanced body as well as the “hairless face” of these three male musicians plus one female, is thought to be one of the reasons for calling these four dancers females.
Furthermore, a theme rarely seen in Sasanian art is a “harmonious music group”  (male and female) scene. Even in the royal hunting scene of Taq Bostan, less resemblance (coordinated group) can be found to this bowl.  The musicians of Taq Bostan cannot be called a scene of a group performance.
Another similar silver bowl (fig. 10) with the same motif (four dancer-musicians from Kelardasht) at the National Museum of Iran published by S. Ayazi (2005: 92-93) already. These two bowls differentiate each other by some significant details which have never been studied. In the second bowl, the relatively “thick cover” of the musicians along with the figures of the “birds” is very significant. It seems, to me, that the first one reflects summer or spring season but the second one clearly recalls the winter season. Figures of different birds (which can be discovered in the spring season) is a part of the claim (the second one). There is also a third bowl with the same scene, in the National Museum, which I will write about in more detail in the future.
The author believes that the motifs of these three bowls are merely radiant of a “simple secular feast” (cf. Boyce and Farmer, 1990: 55; also: Gunter and Jett, 1992: 200). Obviously, the Sasanian heritages can never have been recorded without religious traces, which subconsciously ruled the artist’s mind. Hence, the meaningful name of the owner of the first bowl  (Farrokh-hormozd not windad-hormozd) to the design of the black “ten” leaves of the palm branch, the pearl ring around the pheasant in the middle of the object, the number of pearls of the pearl ring, two ribbons and also the three branches in the beak (Glory, triple social casts  or the doctrine of the Zoroastrianism) are part of this claim.
 Although the existence of motif of birds and animals in Sasanian art (rock, art, bullae, etc...) is a normal subject, but the figure of a pheasant (center of the bowl) can remind us of the “Khorasan Art School” that goes as far as China (Akbarzadeh, 2020: 267). 
The author believes that there is no connection between this scene and the one from Roman legacy of Dionysian or the goddess Anahita (Catalog of Wien, 2003: 233; Gunter and Jett, 1992: 27), as mentioned in all previous works. The following reasons can support me to challenge the previous works: “the typical oriental type of dance of these dancer-musicians, which is evident from their body shape, the pheasant figure most unrelated to the Zoroastrian goddess, the partial nudity dancers, which is not compatible with the officially known Sasanian art (but they are covered on the second bowl), their instruments, the absence of any bold religious symbols etc... supposedly for their body shape (type of dance), type of head-bands, shawl pattern, typical southern chime (with base, like pliers), dancer-musicians in group scene ...” Also, the author points the finger at India, not the Roman heritage for such a coordinated group performance that Sasanian art lacked (cf. Boyce and Farmer, 1990: 60). 
The Indians have always been known as female-males dancer-musicians in group form (unlike individual Sasanian dancer-singers). Also, the figure of the peacock (bowls 2-3) can support this claim. Moreover, the presence of Indian musicians-dancers in the Sasanian period is a well-known issue. It is obvious that Bahram V (Gur), after treating the mental condition of the Iranian society, ordered many musicians from India to come to Iran and play in public. These musicians are known as “gypsies” in the history of Iran.10 In fact, the author evaluates this group of naked (and partly-covered) dancer-musicians (with a completely different body shape) on these Sasanian bowls as Indian gypsies. Their half-nakedness cannot be an Iranian tradition in dance. In a work, about such instruments, attributed to Ibn Khordadbeh (Mallah, 1963: 28; Sami, 1970: 49) narrates that: “Iranians usually played the lute with the flute and the tambourine and the sorna with the dohol (drum) and mastaj (chime) and the senj.” 
The author also believes that due to the to the accuracy in construction and high technic of these valuable bowls and the processing of artistic symbols, especially such a dancer-musicians in group scene, its attribution to the eighth century AD., Post-Sasanian period (given the socio-political situation of Iran), is questionable. If this bowl(s) was made in the geographical boundary of Sasanian Fars province (including parts from Khuzestan to Fars and the whole of present-day Bushehr province) (which is strongly believed to be the case), the eighth century AD. was the most difficult period of this part of the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, the artistic details of these objects are never less, if not more beautiful than the objects of the sixth century AD. (cf. Lawergren, 2009: online). The skill in the inscribed needle-shaped of the owner’s religious name, the exact size of the body of the musicians, the branches of the grape, colored lace and other details indicate that the creation of this work can be even brighter than the eighth century AD. 
Despite this, a fundamental problem will remain and that is the type of cover of the dancers on these three bowls. This coverage can mean a “seasonal difference”, that is likely to be the case. Based on this one, we should focus on the eighth century AD. The author suggests that the second bowl (covered dancers) can be a reminder of Mihragan Festival at the beginning of winter and the first one (naked) can be reminiscent of Nowruz Festival (or a summer fest). This six-month gap (between two seasons) is the least reason why the two group of the two objects can be considered the same. If we cannot opine about the time of Mihragan Festival, but the time of Nowruz Fest was not fixed at the beginning of spring in the Sasanian calendar. This event is related to the early Islamic periods and this one does not contradict the eighth century. In short, that discovery of this bowl (for whatever reason) from northern Iran will never be an excuse to consider its origin as northern, and of course this is not surprising in archeology.

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