عنوان مقاله [English]
Kurangān relief is the most substantial single-part relief, left from the ancient Elamite. The oldest part dates back to the Sukkalmach dynasty. Despite most of the reliefs that can be seen from a long distance and were carved to present an account of an incident or event, Kurangān relief does not seem to be there for such purpose. Hertzfeld was the first person to talk about this relief; And after him, many people alluded to this relief in their reports. This relief can be divided into three different parts. Each part has been created separately and in a different time. The first and the most ancient design, apparently etched somewhere between the 19th century BC to 17th century BC is placed in the center of the relief. The second part, carved to the left of the main design, probably dates back to the period between the 9th and 8th centuries BC. It depicts some worshipers looking towards the central part standing in a diagonal composition. Finally, there is the 3rd part to the right of the focal part, it was apparently added to the relief later at the end of the Neo-Elamite period. In this severely damaged part, four custodians whose sizes are smaller than the central part, are detectable. The central and the most important part is a five-by-nine rectangle. There are two focal faces with horned hats in the middle section of this part. This can be a sign to recognize their identities as deities in this relief. The prominent deity in the centre of the picture has a long beard, and his braided hair is hanging down his back and front. He is wearing a long article of clothing reaching his ankles, and sitting on a coiled snake. There is a goddess behind him who is possibly his wife; She is also wearing her hair in a braid hanging over her shoulder and chest. It seems that she is wearing a long garment. The prominent deity in this relief is holding the head of the coiled snake on which he has been seated. He also has something in his right hand, from which water is squirting outwards. Many archaeologists, such as Hertzfeld, who first presented a design of this relief, assumed that there is a vase in the deity’s hand out of which the water is squirting outside based on their visual experience. Whereas by looking at the depiction presented by Vanden Berghe, one notices that it is clearly stuff like a rod or ring in the bearded deity’s right hand out of which the water is flowing. The outflow of water from stuff like rod and ring was not very common in Mesopotamia, but some similar designs have been found in the impressions of Elamite stamp seals, and this is the same design depicted here. In addition to the rod and the ring, the coiled snake, and the water flow, there is another thing associated with the bearded deity: an article in front of him. As this part has been structurally damaged, it is not possible to precisely identify it. Hertzfeld, who first documented this relief, believed that it was an altar similar to the one in a relief left from the Hittites in the Ferahetin of Turkey. Despite the group who perceived the carved article as a table or altar, some researchers believed that it was a fireplace before the bearded deity sitting on the coiled snake. But this perception might not be very satisfying as the presence of water flow over a burning fire not only cannot be found in the pictures left from ancient Elam, but there is also nothing corresponding to it in Mesopotamia. The contrast between water and fire is so significant that it seems unlikely to find a deity associated with both of these elements. Furthermore, the area in the centre of the relief where illustrates the bottom of the throne and the deity’s feet are noticeably higher than the lower end of the relief. This shows that there must be another thing beneath the coiled snake and the bearded deity’s feet.
Supposing that there is another animal beneath the deity’s feet and coiled snake whose head has risen to the underneath of the deity’s hand can be a reasonable explanation for the thing that many researchers assumed was a flame being actually the head of the animal carrying him. This interpretation of what is beneath the deity’s feet and before him does not only provide a convincing explanation for other visual elements in this relief and their relative size and location, but it is also consistent with ancient traditions presented in other motifs which were common as part of some illustration norms in the Mesopotamian culture. The interpretation of this thing before the deity and beneath his feet being an animal associated with him is in perfect harmony with other elements of the Kurangān relief and solve the problem of contrast between water and fire. Furthermore, this kind of interpretation can give a better explanation for the belief of some researchers who inferred that that thing was flaring flames. Another controversial topic surrounding this relief is the identity of the deity in the centre, sitting on the coiled snake. There are two possible approaches to this end. The first approach is considering the geographical location of the relief and the local deities in this area and others, exploiting the similarities between this relief’s motif and other Elamite motifs of which there is more information. Based on this approach, it can be said that the best choice is Napirisha, as he is the prominent deity of Anshan and the Kurangān relief is located close to this site. On the other hand, Miroschedji, by adopting the second approach, has cast doubt on this hypothesis. A comparison between the Kurangān relief and the upper damaged part of the Untash-Napirisha stela reveals many similarities. So, theories that say the deity locating at the centre of the picture is Napirisha or Inshushinak are not powerfully convincing or perfectly in harmony with all the visual elements in the Kurangān relief. Therefore, it is probable that the depicted deity is a local one, not a supreme deity like Napirisha or Inshushinak. This seems even more plausible because Kurangān was never a politically significant site. So, it seems improbable that the supreme deity’s illustration be depicted in this relief.
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