Relief: figure in a procession
Not on view
The monumental art and architecture of the Achaemenid period are best exemplified by the ruins of Persepolis, the large ceremonial capital of the empire originally built by Darius I (r. 521–486 B.C.) and expanded by his successors. Persepolis is located thirty miles northwest of Shiraz in the southwest Iranian province of Fars. There, structures like the "Hall of One Hundred Columns" and the "Throne Room of Darius and Xerxes" exhibit features characteristic of Achaemenid palace architecture—large square rooms, with ceilings supported by many columns. Some of the columns in the Throne Room have been reconstructed and stand more than sixty-five feet high.
Most characteristic of Achaemenid sculpture are the slabs carved in low relief that decorate the various stairways leading to the ceremonial buildings. Representations of hundreds of alternating Persian and Median servants bringing food and drink for a royal feast are on the walls of several palace stairways at Persepolis. Dating to the reign of Artaxerxes II (r. 404-360 B.C.), this relief was part of a stairway along the western side of the Palace of Darius. The relief depicts a Median, identified by his style of dress: a belted tunic and rounded felt cap. He is being led by a Persian counterpart, and the figures are shown hand in hand.