Friday, November 2, 2018

New Attraction at the Azerbeijan Museum in Täbriz

Statues from the Ahar region

The Azerbeijan Museum in Täbriz houses lots of pre-Islamic and Islamic artifacts and I’ll think about an extra blogpost on this topic. But there has also been a new attraction with steles, statues, and tombstones outside the building. Of course the statues aren’t new but quite old, only the attraction is new.

I’ve been interested in some of them, which had been unearthed near Ahar in the Northwestern province of Azerbeijan in Iran. Ahar has about 100,000 inhabitants. If you look up Ahar on the internet, you’ll find more on the Ahar-Banas culture in Rajasthan, which have nothing to do with the statues that come from Ahar in Azerbeijan. The statues have been dated to the 1st millennium B.C. And these statues resemble the Balbals, found at the archeological site of the city of Balasagun with the Burana tower near the modern town of Tokmok (around 15 km off the city), Kyrgyzstan. Balasagun belonged to the Soghdians, who are of Iranian origin and ruled there between the 10th and 12th century A.D., which is at least one millennium later than the statues of Ahar. You can see that I’m not a friend of the distribution theory / Kulturkreislehre, which had been en vogue in the German speaking world of ethnology/ethnography/social anthropology in the early 20th century.

Close-up of two of the artifacts from Ahar 

Balbals from Balasagun for comparison



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