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HomeAbstracta IranicaVolume 283. Histoire, Art et Archéologie, ...3.2. Ouest de l’Iran3.2.2. Pré-Achéménides et Achémén...Y. Garfinkel. « Dancing Diamonds,...

3. Histoire, Art et Archéologie, Période pré-Islamique
3.2. Ouest de l’Iran
3.2.2. Pré-Achéménides et Achéménides

Y. Garfinkel. « Dancing Diamonds, In Memory of P.R.S. Moorey ». Iran, XLIII, 2005, pp. 117-133.

Aurélie Daems

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1As much as I do embrace any attempt at elucidating the hidden meaning of any man made artefact or image, Garfinkel’s interpretation of diamond shaped motives on a selected sample of proto-historic Iranian sherds feels like a bridge too far. A set of Susiana Black on Buff sherds from Luristan to Kerman is subjected to a very scrutinised, balanced stylistic analysis but sadly only effectuated in order to support a preconceived idea of net-covered and plain diamonds ‘with limbs’ (p. 121 onwards) as being abstract representations of people dancing during a ceremony (p. 131). The connection between the images and the conclusion made by the author is not transparent enough in the article. The diamonds are dancing; for a fact, but the supporting / comparative evidence is too meagre; at least to me. There is the problem of fragmentation of the Bakun sherds, of the Nevali Çori sherd having no connection with the material discussed (in time, in space) and of the problematic Giyan seal (see c.r. n° 48) who described the many problems with which the seals from Giyan are concerned; one of them being that Herzfeld’s drawings of the seals often do not match the original seal’s scenery! (and Garfinkel relies on the drawing here). We are also guided to other references that support the dancing statement but these are mainly prior works made by the author – and arguments are not repeated here. I am not saying Garfinkel is wrong: the interpretation put forward is an interesting and alluring one certainly worth acknowledging but I would have preferred ‘dancing’ as one of several suggested interpretations rather than as a clear-cut fact. The only sherds that may indeed be abstract representations of people (but even then it should not necessarily be during a dance) are the ones from Kozagaran, since there are more supporting arguments here. Overall the study is a thorough, interesting and elaborate one, but it is a pity the abstraction of a human is taken as a fact / certainty throughout the article rather than as a suggestion enforced by strong arguments.

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Aurélie Daems, “Y. Garfinkel. « Dancing Diamonds, In Memory of P.R.S. Moorey ». Iran, XLIII, 2005, pp. 117-133.”Abstracta Iranica [Online], Volume 28 | 2007, document 85, Online since 18 September 2007, connection on 30 May 2024. URL:; DOI:

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