THE IRAN ROCK ART GALLERY

Middle East Rock Art Archive - Iranian Rock Art by Dr Mohammad Naserifard

 
 
Mohammad Naserifard
Dr Mohammad Naserifard
Dr Mohammad Naserifard, archaeologist,
explores the prehistoric rock art of Iran
.
 
Rock art is one of the oldest legacies of humankind. One could argue that rock art is the basis of a writing system, conveying cultural messages, beliefs and myths. In Iran, rock art sites have been discovered in Birjand (Lakh mazar), Khorasan (Nehbandan), Yazd (Arnan), Sistan and Baluchistan (Nikshahr and Saravan), Isfahan (Gharghab and Kucherey in Golpaygan and Vist in Khansar), Lorestan (Homiyan in Kuhdasht, Khommeh in Aligudars, Mihad in Boruherd), Arak (Ibrahim Abad, Yasavel in Komijan, Ahmadabad in Khondab and Khomein), Hamadan (Darre Shahrestaneh Alvand, Darreh Ganjnameh, Mehrabad and Khoshijan in Malayer), Aras baran) Kurdistan (Dehgolan and Saral), Tehran (Dowlatabad village, Sharyar, Kuhe (Kaftarlu) and Qum (Kahak). In the region of Khomein, there are many thousands of rock art sites, some of which have been dated to approximately 4,000 years old.

The Ibex Motif

 
Ibex Motif Petroglyph Iran Rock Art
Ibex Motif Petroglyph Iran Rock Art
Ibex Motif Petroglyph Iran Rock Art
The Ibex Motif
Almost 90 percent of Iran's rock art consists of the ibex motif. The ibex for the prehistoric inhabitants of what is now known as Iran appears to have received the same apotheosis as the eland for the San in what is now known as South Africa. The ibex would have been a source of meat and secondary products such as horn and hide. Archaeological evidence shows that it was hunted in Iran from the Middle Paleolithic period onwards, at the Warwasi and Yāfte Cave (ca. 38,000-29,000 B.C.E.) sites where it was the dominant species represented. Studies of horn cores from the early Neolithic sites of Tappe ʿAli Koš and Tappe Sabz indicate that ibex were being hunted in the late 8th and 7th millennia B.C.E.
 
The ibex motif went on to be incorporated into decorative friezes on painted pottery in pre-Islamic Iran. The elegantly stylized ibex appears as a decorative motif on Chalcolithic pottery - in Luristan at Čeḡā Sabz, Se Gābi and Tappe Giān – with long, curving horns and characteristic beard. Long-horned caprids, many of whom may be ibex, appear on pre-Islamic stamp and cylinder seals all over Iran. An ibex-headed figure - possibly a human wearing the horns of an ibex - appears in the guise of the ‘master of animals’ on stamp seal impressions from Susa dating to ca. 4000 B.C.E. Middle Elamite, Neo-Assyrian, provincial Neo-Assyrian, and Neo-Elamite cylinder seals from Čeḡā Sabz and Sorḵ Dom-e Lori in Luristan illustrate hunters with bow and arrow shooting leaping caprids.
 
The symbolic and/or religious significance of the ibex in pre-Islamic Iran is unclear, although some argue that it was integral to a pre-Islamic creation narrative. According to the Zoroastrian – ‘Zarathusti’ in Persian - cosmogony, ‘Mashya and Mashyana’, or ‘mašyā and mašyānē’, were the first man and woman whose procreation gave rise to the human race. According to Mohammad Naserifard [pictured], it was the ibex that was chosen as the symbol of divine assistance. With the ibex carvings in the rock art sites of ancient Persia, this may have represented an over-riding belief in, and request for, the provision of water, the guarantee of fertility and birth, and a Divine - ‘hu’ - blessing and protection.

Iran Rock Art Gallery

 
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
Iran Iranian Rock Art Petroglyphs
 
Middle East Rock Art Archive
Bradshaw Foundation Homepage
 
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Coso Range Nevada Oregon Territory Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Portable Art Research Paper Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Tanum Rock Art Museum Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation