Monday, 14 September 2015

Hellenistic bronze statue from Khuzestan (S.W. Iran) digitally reconstructed

From: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut   8 September 2015

In the framework of a project of the German Archaeological Institute fragments held in the National Museum in Tehran, one of the most impressive testimonies of the Hellenistic period in Iran, were reconstructed.

The battered, larger than life Bronze statue came to light in 1936 in the rubble of a sanctuary from the 3rd/2nd centuries BC in the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan. As the six fragments of the statue were discovered at different times and transferred to the Museum of Tehran, they were held in different sections of the museum. It was only after they were put side by side for the first time in August 2015 that a partial reconstruction of the statue proved possible. Three fragments were assembled to form a raised left arm. This helped with the reconstruction the posture of the statue: a male figure leaning with the left hand on a spear, a typical motif of Hellenistic rulers.

The reassembled left hand of the statue  [Credit: DAI Eurasien-Abteilung]

The investigations then focused on the head of the statue. It had been severely damaged in antiquity and was thus impossible to identify who it was depicting. In order to reconstruct the original features, a digital 3D model was created by using a photogrammetric procedure. Here the better preserved right side of the face was mirrored to provide the texture for the left half of the face. Distorted and missing elements of the face were straightened and filled in on the model. At the end of the project a digital 3D polymer print of the reconstructed head will be handed over to the Museum. The statue is the most impressive testimony of the Hellenistic era in Iran. Its reconstruction aims at highlighting its quality and significance.

Models of the statue's face [Credit: DAI Eurasien-Abteilung]

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