Seals & Sealings

IN THE EASTERN IRANIAN LANDS  The bulk of the material known at present is of antiquarian origin and was gathered between the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries when European and Russian scholars and collectors turned their attention to these previously unexplored regions.


Bullae, the sealings, usually of clay or bitumen, on which were impressed the marks of seals showing ownership or witness to whatever was attached to the sealing. Bullae or clay sealings were used in ancient Mesopotamia, but strictly speaking bullae came into general use after the end of cuneiform writing. The earliest bullae date from the Seleucid period of the history of Iran and they were in the shape of a “napkin ring” around a document. Seals were then impressed on the clay ring, usually with strings imbedded in it. This method of “sealing” documents apparently did not continue later, for under the Parthians we find a piece of clay placed over a knot that tied a folded parchment or papyrus as at Avroman.

Sasanian Wall Painting

Murals found on sites within the territory of the Sasanian empire (224- 650 CE) are considered Sasanian. While their main function is decorative, their secondary function can be derived from location, theme, and dimension, and is important because it reflects a world-view.

Sasanian Textiles

Classical, Islamic, and Chinese sources celebrate Sasanian textiles as a very precious commodity, but no specific descriptions of them are given. Most studies of Sasanian textile art are originally based on these sources and on examining the reliefs of the larger grotto at Tāq-e Bostān.

Three Pahlavi Papyri Revisited

Dieter Weber

Three Pahlavi papyri from the period of Sasanian occupation of Egypt (619-628 CE) are revisited by Dieter Weber. They include list of rations, offices and logistics related to the Sasanian army and administration.


Glass blowing was invented in the Syro-Palestinian region during the Parthian period in the mid-first century B.C.E. and quickly spread from there to neighboring regions. Production of glass was much more widely spread within the Sasanian empire; it also became in both shapes and types of decoration independent from Parthian prototypes.

Sasanian Art

The art of the ancient Near East during the four centuries of Sasanian rule is richly documented. There are major remains of many different types: monumental rock reliefs, silver vessels, stucco architectural decoration, and seals.

Sasanian Archaeology

Archeological field work has played a comparatively smaller part in forming the image of Sasanian history and culture than the large number of preserved monuments, buildings, and rock reliefs, collections of coins and objects of art.

Sasanian Rock Reliefs

One of the primary sources for documentation of the Sasanian period.