AYAR EQTESAD – This is a welcome ceremony for an ancient Iranian soldier! This basrelief of an Achaemenid guard is 2,500 years old. It was returned to Iran after over eight decades of distance.
The story began in 1932 when an American archaeologist excavated the artifact at Persepolis in the Iranian city of Shiraz, the ancient ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire.
In 1936, the antique was stolen from Persepolis. Fifteen years later, it wound up at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada where it remained for six decades. In 2017, it was confiscated by the New York district attorney during an art fair in New York. Following a US court order in 2018, the adventurous journey of this Persian soldier ended after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took the piece back to its birthplace.
The antique is now on public display at the height of 270 meters at the Hall of Fame of Tehran’s iconic Milad Tower.
The artifact is valued at 1.2 million dollars, but foreign visitors believe its spiritual value is beyond this figure.
The artifact is an eight-square-inch piece of carved limestone. As this old photo shows, it was a part of this long row of ancient Persian guards depicted on the balustrade at the central building of Persepolis.
The precious bas-relief will be kept at Milad tower for a week and then will be transferred to Iran’s National Museum for public display.
After decades of distance from home, this ancient Iranian soldier is finally back to his homeland, just to remind every visitor of the long history of art and civilization in Iran.
After many twists and turns, the story of an ancient Iranian artifact ends up at home. A 2500 year-old bas-relief of an Iranian Achaemanid soldier has finally returned to Iran after eight decades.