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Iranian Composite Creatures between the Caucasus and Western China: The Case of the So-Called Simurgh

In: Iran and the Caucasus
Author:
Matteo ComparetiShaanxi Normal University

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In the light of recent investigations by archaeologists and historians of art, several textile decorative patterns that have been uncritically attributed to Sasanian Persia in the past should be considered most likely Central Asian creations. Typical Iranian composite creatures, such as the so-called simurgh, had become very popular in Eurasia since the 7th century A.D. However, for some reason not completely clear, the so-called simurgh was not adopted by Central Asian Buddhists who, on the contrary, accepted other Iranian (possibly Sogdian) motifs, such as the wild boar head, the winged horse and birds holding a necklace in their beak within pearl roundel frames. The presence of such Iranian decorative motifs in monumental arts or objects of luxury arts (textiles, metalwork, glass, etc.) could be a valid instrument to propose better chronologies for excavated artifacts on a very wide area, which includes Persia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Tibetan Plateau as well.

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