Taq-e Bostan is a series of large bas-reliefs in rocks pertaining to the Sassanid era. It is located five kilometers from Kermanshah in the west of Iran.
This example of Sassanid art is located 5 km from the city center of Kermanshah in western Iran. It is located in the heart of the Zagros mountains, where it has endured almost 1,700 years of wind and rain. The mountains and springs in this area have made it a spiriting promenade that has always been the center of attention, from the old days till now. Originally, several sources were visible next to and below the reliefs and arches, some of which are now covered. Sources next to the reliefs still feed a large basin in front of the rock. The site has been turned into an archaeological park and a series of late Sasanian and Islamic column capitals have been brought together (some found at Taq-i Bustan, others at Bisitun and Kermanshah).
The carvings, some of the finest and best-preserved examples of Persian sculpture under the Sassanids, include representations of the investitures of Ardashir II (379–383) and Shapur III (383–388). Like other Sassanid symbols, Taq-e Bostan and its relief patterns accentuate power, religious tendencies, glory, honor, the vastness of the court, game and fighting spirit, festivity, joy, and rejoicing. Sassanid kings chose a beautiful setting for their rock reliefs along an historic Silk Road caravan route waypoint and campground. The reliefs are adjacent a sacred springs that empty into a large reflecting pool at the base of a mountain cliff.
The site of Taq-e Bostan consists of several elements, including a small cave and a larger one (known as an iwan), which are decorated with reliefs. There is also a small man-made lake, as well as an ancient garden, or ‘paradise’, which were likely to have been created during the preceding Parthian period.
The first Taq-e Bostan relief, and apparently the oldest, is a bas-relief in rock measuring 4.07 meters wide and 3.9 meters high. It includes the figures of four people with swords, helmets, and lotus. The figure standing to the right dons a serrated crown. He has turned to the middle figure and holds out a ribbon-decked royal ring. The middle figure wears a helmet. Behind the middle figure, another figure stands with a halo of light around his head.
On the right and left wall of the arch, there is a picture of the king’s hunting measuring 3.8 X 5.7 meters. From the time of Cyrus the Great to the end of Sassanid period, hunting was one of the most favourite activities of Iranian kings. Therefore scenes of hunting are frequently found next to those of crownings.