Relief of a Persian servant

Near Eastern, Iranian, Persian
550–331 B.C.

Place of Origin: Iran, Persepolis, Palace of Xerxes, western stairway


Height x width: 69.2 x 32.1 cm (27 1/4 x 12 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Ancient Near East Gallery (Gallery 110)


The Ancient World



Relief of a Persian servant at the annual “March of Nations” which took place in the Persian New Year festival near the spring equinox. This ceremony declared the loyalty of the nations encompassed by the Persian Empire to the king. In this relief, Persian and Median servants bring food and drink to the banquet following the ceremony. The Persian carrying a covered dish wears typical court dress whose naturalistic folds are unusual in ancient Near Eastern art and indicate the influence of Greek sculpture. Many Greek artisans were employed in the Persian court at this time.


From the western stairway, Palace of Xerxes, Persepolis. 1931, sold through Arthur Upham Pope (b. 1881 - d. 1969), Paris, to the MFA for £700 [see note]. (Accession Date: May 7, 1931)

NOTE: It is possible, but not documented, that Pope sold this relief with or on behalf of Ayoub Rabenou, for whom he offered other objects to the MFA at this time. Rabenou was instrumental in selling relief sculpture from Persepolis around 1931, as discussed by 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), 145-146.

Credit Line

Charles Amos Cummings Fund