395 PARTHIA- PEOPLE AND ARTS.
those wavering hopes wherewith the living of all ages have beguiled themselves in the
presence of death.
We have come in this connection to the consideration of such indifferent art as the
Parthians were able to produce. We have seen how unfavorable on the whole the country was
for an artistic development, and how little genius for reproduction of forms and images
the Parthian race possessed. The remains of this people, however, are sufficient to show a
certain degree of aesthetic perception, and a corresponding measure of artistic
achievement. First of all, we may mention the terra- cotta statuettes which are found in
the ruins of the Parthian" cities. Some of these Loftus has described with his usual care.
The Parthian artist seems to have preferred the recumbent posture in the subject of his
work. One effigy represents a warrior reclining at a banquet. He wears his helmet, his
coat of mail, and his greaves. There is evidently much truthfulness in the delineation.
Female figures are represented according to the fitness of things. The figure is draped,
and the face veiled after the manner of the East. In some instances, however, it appears
that the infection of Western art had reached to Iran, for examples have been found in
which a portion of the person and the lower limbs are nude.
From these attempts at the representation of the highest existing form, namely, the body
of man, we may pass to the consideration of utensils. These were to a certain extent of
artistic outline and finish. The vases and jars, water-jugs and lamps, of the Parthian
people were of terra-cotta, and were sufficiently well-formed to merit praise even in a
modern collection of such objects. In general, the same were modeled after the Babylonian
pattern, being produced on the potter's wheel, and hardened by the heat of the furnace. It
may. be noted in this connection that the larger part of the pottery recovered from the
Parthian period has been found in the sepulchral vaults, where, no doubt, food and drink
were placed by the hand of that superstitious affection which was stretched out by all the
ancient peoples over the burial-place of the departed.
From utensils we may pass to personal decorations. These were many, and not inelegant. We
have already referred to the triple necklaces worn by the kings and queens, and doubtless
by the nobility. The diadems of royal personages were adorned with jewels. Ear-rings and
finger- rings appear to have been generally worn by both men and women. Beads and bangles
were of the fashion, as were also armlets, wristlets, anklets, and the like. The toes were
often adorned with rings. In the manufacture of ornaments the Parthian smiths employed the
precious metals, as also copper and brass. Another kind of personal ornament much in
vogue, especially among the nobility, was the band of gold which was made to depend from
caps and miters in the style of modern ribbons. The inference of great personal pride may
be deduced from the universality of adornments for the person.
It is the decision of antiquaries that not more than a half dozen authentic examples of
Parthian bas-reliefs have been recovered. From these the opinion of the modern reader must
be formed relative to the extent and character of Parthian sculpture. On the Rock of
Behistun one of these examples is found. It consists of a procession of figures moving in
one direction, somewhat after the manner of the procession on the frieze of the Parthenon.
Some of the figures are on foot, but the rest are mounted, and are riding with glance at
rest, evidently in the charge of battle. In