The relief of Kurangun is with that of Naqsh-e Rostam, one of only 2 Elamite rock reliefs known in the Iranian province of Fars. Both shown nearly similar scenes but while the relief of Naqsh-e Rostam has almost entirely disappeared, erased by a sassanian audience relief attributed to king Bahram II, the Kurangun relief is almost entirely preserved. The theme is typical of the Elamite art of rock relief, depicting a scene of religious worshiping.
Located in the vicinity of Fahlian, (North-west of Nurabad), the relief was carved at the top of a rocky cliff named Kuh-e Paraweh, dominating the Fahlian river (Rud-e Fahlian) flowing in the valley of Dasht-e Rostam-e do, upper the Seh-Talan village. Its isolation from frequented roads might explain also its excellent state of conservation, as it didn’t suffer from vandalism.
A main central panel dating from the 17th century BCE is carved into a rectangular frame, upper a plane floor. It shows a divine couple, sometimes identified as being god Inshushinak and goddess Napirisha.
Both divinities have a human form. The male figure seats on a throne made of a bended snake, animal symbolizing the earth in the Elamite pantheon. He wears a horned crown and holds a bowl or a cup from which some smoke or vapour escapes, spreading above at the top of the scene. Behind him sits a female deity, the divine couple being honoured and surrounded by nobles or dignitaries. The panel is separated from the plane floor by a set of 3 parallel lines behind wich multiples silhouettes of fish can still be distinguished although eroded, probably symbolizing the Fahlian river down the cliff.
Other panels were added later added at the 8th or 7th centuries on the left and right sides, showing processions of multiple ranks of worshipping characters, all similar to each others, all being directed at the central scene. These characters are dressed in a different way than the previous ones, wearing typically elamite clothes (hats with a tail falling down on the back, long coats, and wide trousers), all being represented into a humble praying attitude. Such composition is typically elamite, and evokes the elamite reliefs carved in the same period at Kul-e Farah, vicinity of Izeh, in the Khuzestan province. Like in Izeh, all the available rocky surfaces were exploited.
Many thanks to Pr Ernie Haerinck (Department of the Near East antiquities at the Gent University, Belgium), for his gentle help, and to Dr Habibi, (Fars miras office in Fahlian district, Iran)
Dedicated to dear Nickmard I know he’ll like this image.
Taken in Seh Talan village, Fahlian district, Vicinity of Noorabad, Fars province, Iran, May 2009.
+ detailed images of the various panels are there: