In this paper I aim to explore the process in which a standardized imperial image came to be during the early years of the reign of Darius I by means of a focused case study on the cylinder sealing by the siglum PFUTS 0311. I also incorporate a discussion upon the seal imagery on the tablets within the Persepolis Fortification Archive (PFA) in relation to the wider repertoire of Achaemenid imperial glyptic to provide context and meaning to my seal analysis. PFUTS 0311 is a unique seal in many regards, both within the context of the Fortification Archive and in that of Achaemenid glyptic imagery as a whole. The carving style employed, individual components, and figural composition of this seal come together to display an interesting conglomeration of elements, combining archaizing modes of depiction with more progressive features. Thus, PFUTS 0311 belongs to a fascinating group of seals within the PFA that provide information on the formative period in which the formal Achaemenid Court Style was being developed. As is with the rest of the sealings belonging to this group, PFUTS 0311 necessarily prompts questions concerning seal use and meaning, and in particular the question: to what extent has individual creative agency (either that of the patron or artisan) impacted the maturation of the Achaemenid Court Style? Due to the colossal scope of such questions it is not possible to answer them here in full, but rather an analysis PFUTS 0311 will be used as a definitive means to consider the creative process behind the production of Achaemenid glyptic.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Creating an Imperial Image: A Case Study on Composite Seal Imagery from Achaemenid Persepolis.
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