Frieze of Archers

Frieze of Archers, circa 510 B.C. Palace of Darius the Great, Susa. Detail from the glazed brick,  Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

This detail from the larger “Frieze of Archers” depicts royal guards. The frieze was part of the decorative motif in the palace of Darius the Great (522–486 B.C.E.) located in Susa, an important Persian city in the fifth century B.C.E. The multicolored, molded and fired siliceous bricks show an army of men carrying spears, bows, and quivers. This type of brickwork was first developed during the Middle Elamite period, between 1500 B.C.E. and 1100 B.C.E.  The archers’ hands are joined together on the shafts of their spears, and hanging from each shoulder is a bow, its end in the form of a duck’s head. The butt of the spear rests on the front foot. The archers wear a long Persian robe, braided and pleated over the leg. The frieze combines low relief and color, with glazes of green, brown, white, and yellow, separated by fine cloisons (wires) to keep the glazed colors from combining. This technique became known as cloisonné and is still widely used today.

Persian guards depicted on glazed brick friezes from the palace of Darius the Great at Susa (in present-day Iran). Louvre Museum, Paris.

A sculptured band or stripe of artwork.

The king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire at its peak, from 550-486 B.C.E. His decree to continue the rebuilding of the Temple appears in Ezra 6.

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