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Persepolis (Iran), Palace of Darius I (521-486) or of Xerxes I (485-465)
Beginning of the 5th century B.C.
Limestone
H. 43; W. 29; D. 0.95 cm
Acquired from a Parisian antiquarian in 1932
 
Masterpieces
Carrier of a Goatskin Flask

This figure carrying a goatskin flask filled with beer or wine was formerly part of a procession of servants sculpted on the walls of the monumental staircase of a palace at Persepolis.

The decoration of these sumptuous palaces reflected the magnificence of the Achemenid Persian Empire and exalted the power of the Great Kings. Loaded with dishes and drinks, the servants head toward the royal table for the banquet to celebrate the New Year.

This carrier wears the traditional felt hood (bachlyk) that uncovers a few curls on his forehead. An eyebrow, almond-shaped eye, hooked nose and thin lips animate the face, but the expression is impassive, like those on all the other figures, and conveys the solemnity of the ceremony.