Ala Talebian (ITP 2017) | Armenia and Iran: Memory of the Land

Written by Ala Talebian, International Training Programme Fellow 2017 (Iran)

Recently I visited the National Museum of Iran’s latest exhibition, Armenia and Iran: Memory of the Land. The exhibition presents archaeological collections from both the History Museum of Armenia and the National Museum of Iran. It includes three galleries: the Bronze Age and early Iron Age; the glory of the Urartian Kingdom; and the Urartu and Post-Urartu Age. It presents more than three thousand years of the civilization and culture of the inhabitants of these two regions, with 303 artefacts.


The first gallery contains pottery vessels, human figurines, cups, weapons and other findings. The highlight of this gallery is the Karashamb silver goblet from the mid-Bronze Age.  This cup is decorated with 6 stripes, each narrating a different story. The first line depicts boar hunting, the second shows three events: a ritual sacrifice, an armed confrontation and the captivity of the defeated. The third line depicts a scene of disarmament, beheading and captured trophy.

The second gallery displays objects discovered during archaeological excavations from 1940 to 1960 in Tishbani Castle, Karmir Blur (Red Hill) and Urartian historical buildings in various regions of Armenia (including Arboni, Argitshtikhinli Armavir, Lori Berd, Benji and Dvin) and Iran (such as Hasanlu, Bastam, Qalatgah, Dinkhah Tappeh, Mirgeh Karvan, Kordlar Tappeh and Haftavan). It also displays Urartian inscriptions. Urartian language is a Hurrian-Urartian language belonging to the North Caucasus branch of languages.

Most works in Gallery Three are inscribed metal vessels, potteries, bowls and post- Urartu findings that highlight the relationship between Armenia and Iran. On a small stone container from Karmir Blur, there are two human figures on the sides  with the winged figure of Ahura Mazda on top.