Some Formal Remarks on “Shapur Cameo” and Few Points on Practical Methodology in Researching Sasanian Iconography

Document Type : Original Research Article


PhD, Department of History, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Poland.


The famous “Shapur Cameo” from the collection of Bibliotheue Nationale is an important object and appears in various studies of Sasanian art, as well as of arms and armour. Studies focus on dating of the object, identification of the scene or identification of the depicted personages without asking the basic question whether the cameo is surely genuine. The conclusion of the article is that the arguments pointing to its nineteenth century origin prevail. It must be stated that the Sasanian elements are employed in very skilled manner both in terms of composition and majority of depicted details, however indecisive nature of the picture which does not clearly define the victor, unclear clothes or garb of the Persian figure, archaic sword of the Roman figure, his awkward position, and not tied tails of the horses, allow to believe that the person who designed the cameo was not fully aware of Sasanian realia. The Sasanian elements are gathered from the limited range of references. The separate argument is that cameos are not type of art favored in Sasanian Iran.   


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