Elamite community and representation at Kurangun
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 17:15 authored by Emma Jean Kaula
Perched above the Fahliyan River in Fars, Iran, is the open-air sanctuary of Kurangun. It is decorated with three panels of monumental reliefs depicting ritual scenes. Its central panel is dated between the 17th and 16th centuries BC in the Sukkalmah period, whilst two additions were made during the later Neo-Elamite period, c.9th-8th, and c.7th-6th centuries BC. The reliefs represent Elamite worshippers in contrasting ways: the Sukkalmah period relief depicts six elite attendees receiving flowing water from a divine couple. The Neo-Elamite reliefs show a distinct community of people, numbering around 40 figures, who descend the sanctuary's stairs. This project concerns the communities represented in the two different periods, and probes the identities of these people, quest ioning the socio-political background of Kurangun. In order to contextualise the sanctuary and gain an understanding of the communities who worshipped there, this project utilises an art historical and semiotic approach. An art historical analysis consults visual and iconographic parallels, enabling a contextualisation of the site's features and relationship with the natural environment. Furthermore, an understanding of Kurangun's semiotic capacity provides insight into how signs and symbols were transmitted and received . Due to Kurangun's melding of political and ritual expression, the role the sanctuary played for the Elamite communities becomes apparent; allowing for a further articulation of the communities represented, their relationship with each other, and the world around them.