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Relief of reclining Parthian nobleman (Azat), Andika, Khuzestan, Iran.



Fig. 12. Relief of reclining Parthian nobleman (Azat) discovered in the western part of Andika northern section of Masjid Suleyman, Khuzestan Province (Gholamreza Karamian & Farzad Astaraki, 2015).

       Despite weathering and erosion, the features of the Andika figure are relatively well preserved. The ‘fold’ details of the tunic raise questions: is this a looser type of garment that results in folds? If true then this would present a type of tunic not before seen in other Parthian type costumes. The nobles at Hatra and the Susa nobleman for example, feature the Parthian costume with a tunic or wrapped jacket, trousers and boots/footwear, generally typical of Iranian riding dress. Interestingly the length of the right side of the Andika tunic reaches to the knees (consistent with those seen with early Sassanian noblemen depicted at the Persepolis graffiti) but the left side of the tunic appears shorter and only reaches to the upper thigh. One hypothesis for this apparent asymmetry is that the artist was perhaps attempting to show the nobleman’s tunic on his left side as being pulled upwards as he is reclining. The other explanation would be that the tunic was uneven to begin with (right side longer than the left) but this type of costume asymmetry is highly unlikely.
       The features of the legwear and footwear are also well preserved, leading to further questions. A curious feature of the Andika nobleman is the ‘folds’ on the lower part of his ‘trousers’ which are visible from the knees to the ankles just above the footwear. While it is possible to argue that the ‘folds’ on the trousers are actually metallic laminated leg armor/guards, the authors hypothesize that the trousers are probably of the folded type (perhaps like the chaps worn by modern-day cowboys in North America). This type of chaps-attire is seen with the statue of the Susa nobleman (housed at the Iran Bastan Museum) (Figure 17) as well as the statues of the noblemen at Hatra like that of Makai ben Nashri (Figure 18). The challenge against this hypothesis is the question of the upper portion of the Andika nobleman’s trousers: is the relief showing further extension of various layers of overlapping clothing from the tunic (thus extending to the knees like the Persepolis graffiti) or is the clothing seen at the upper thigh areas part of the (upper) trousers? It is possible that the tunic has a ‘curtain’ type opening beginning just below the belt area, allowing for the display of the upper part of the trousers. If this is the case, then it is challenging to explain as to why the ‘chap’-like (or laminated-like) folds only appear at the lower legs and not at the upper. Perhaps this is a local variation of Parthian trousers, as the use of laminated leg armor for the lower legs (only) is not militarily functional and not seen in any known depictions of Parthian costumes. Thus the Andika nobleman’s leg wear may be indicative of a hitherto unknown type of design. The footwear of the Andika nobleman would probably be of the leather riding boots type, however the pointed and curved tip of the footwear (especially on the right foot) resembles the cloth-woven Giveh shoes worn by Iranian tribal peoples.
       A final and curious feature is what appears to be a ‘bone’ like shape lying atop the nobleman from the upper to the lower abdomen area. The question is whether this is a ceremonial object of some kind. If this is the case, then perhaps the object is a symbolic mace with the ‘bone’ looking tip possibly being a small mace-type device that has been fastened to the shaft.

p. 47, "Preliminary reports of the late Parthian or early Sassanian relief at Panj-e Ali, the Parthian relief at Andika and examinations of late Parthian swords and daggers" by Farrokh et al.



See also Effigy of a Parthian Man, Iran, 1st–2nd century AD, Susa Museum of Iran
Parthian relief of Mithridates 1st of Parthia at Xong-e Ashdar. City of Izeh, Khouzestan province, Iran.
Parthian horse-archer plaque, Syria, 1st Century BC-3rd Century AD
Seleucid or Parthian Cataphract and a Lion, Iraq, 3rd Century BC-2nd Century AD
Other Parthian Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers