Relief of a Persian guard

Near Eastern, Iranian, Persian
Achaemenid, reign of Xerxes
486–464 B.C.

Place of Origin: Iran, Persepolis, Palace of Xerxes


Height x width: 53 x 46.5 cm (20 7/8 x 18 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Ancient Near East Gallery (Gallery 110)


The Ancient World



This figure is one of the Achaemenid king’s elite guard, who were called the Ten Thousand Immortals because if one soldier fell in battle, another would immediately step forward to take his place. The fragment was part of a long frieze depicting a single file of the Immortals. The relief was most likely once brightly painted with hues of yellow, blue, and purple.


From the Palace of Xerxes, Persepolis. 1940, sold by Dikran G. Kelekian (dealer), New York, to the MFA for $12,500 [see note]. (Accession Date: April 11, 1940)

NOTE: Kelekian acquired at least five Persepolis reliefs from Sassoon Frères in Paris between 1931 and 1933; it is not known for certain whether this was among them. See Lindsay Allen, " 'The Greatest Enterprise': Arthur Upham Pope, Persepolis and Achaemenid Antiquities," in Arthur Upham Pope and a New Survey of Persian Art, ed. Y. Kadoi (2016), p. 146.

Credit Line

Archibald Cary Coolidge Fund