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AccueilAbstracta IranicaVolume 37-38-393. Histoire, Art et Archéologie, ...3.2. Ouest de l’Iran3.2.1. ElamElizabeth Carter. “Royal Women in...

3. Histoire, Art et Archéologie, Période pré-Islamique
3.2. Ouest de l’Iran
3.2.1. Elam

Elizabeth Carter. “Royal Women in Elamite Art”

Javier Álvarez-Mon
Référence(s) :

Elizabeth Carter. “Royal Women in Elamite Art” in M. Kozuh, W.F. Henkelman, C.E. Jones, C. Woods (eds.). Extraction and Control: Studies in Honour of Matthew W. Stolper. Chicago: The University of Chicago, 2014, p.41-62, (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 68).

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1[The abstract of this book (Extraction & Control: Studies in Honor of Matthew W. Stolper) is already online.]

2One of the most noticeable features of Elamite art is the place allocated to the representation of women, children and the family, reflecting their special status within the society as a source of political power and stability. In this article the author focuses on the role of royal Elamite women beginning with the early second millennium BC. For the purpose of this review, I will concentrate here on the first millennium BC iconographic evidence from the open-air highland reliefs carved at Shekaft-e Salman, Kul-e Farah, and Naqsh-e Rustam. The chronology and characteristics of these reliefs have been the source of much confusion amongst specialists, leaving a trail of inaccuracies and misinterpretations, some of which are echoed by the author.

3Carter states that the reliefs from Shekaft-e Salman were originally carved in the late Middle Elamite period but, following the opinion of Debevoise (1942), she adds that the images were modified by the Neo-Elamite ruler, Hanni of Aiapir, when he added his inscriptions. She dates these modifications between the 8th and the early 6th centuries BC. There is little doubt that the two reliefs depicting the Elamite royal family (Shekaft-e Salman I and II) were manufactured in the 12th-11th century BC, most likely by members of the Shutrukid dynasty. The inscriptions and name captions added by Hanni of Aiapir, however, have been redated to ca. 650-550 BC. Shekaft-e Salman I is described by Carter as depicting a child, two men, a small person and a woman (in reference to fig. 5.6c; but it ought to be fig. 5.6b), but several studies of the relief have established that it depicts a fire stand, two men, one child and one woman. Shekaft-e Salman II is then described as depicting Hanni and his sister-wife and a child (fig. 5.6b; should be fig. 5.6c), when in fact it probably depicts members of the Shutrukid dynasty who were later renamed in captions added by Hanni. Similarly, Shekaft-e Salman III does not depict Hanni himself. In Kul-e Farah II, Carter sees a scene of a ruler followed by a family procession, but this too is inaccurate. Instead, much like in the relief of Kul-e Farah V, we can observe a group of four worshippers standing behind the ruler. In her discussion of the relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, Carter dates the male carved to the right of the main panel to the mid-second millennium BC and in doing so dismisses literature that argues for a ca. 7th century date in line with the accepted date for the “queen” represented to the left of the relief. Finally, Carter discusses the stele of Atta-Hamitti-Inshushinak where the king, in her own words, is wearing “a hat with a domed crown and a pointed visor not unlike those worn by Hanni at Kul-e Farah”. This is also not accurate: Hanni wears a tall bulbous headdress somewhat reminiscent of that worn by the Elamite king Humban-haltash III/Ummanaldasi (646–645 BC) in Assyrian palace reliefs of Ashurbanipal. For further information see J. Álvarez-Mon, The Monumental Reliefs of the Elamite Highlands (2019).

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Javier Álvarez-Mon, « Elizabeth Carter. “Royal Women in Elamite Art” »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 37-38-39 | 2018, document 8, mis en ligne le 30 décembre 2018, consulté le 21 avril 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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