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Colossal Statue of Shapur I

Colossal Statue of Shapur I

9 Most Amazing Colossal Statues In The World

Colossal statues are sometimes referred to as living rocks , those which have almost three times as size of original object. These most durable art forms also becomes one of best carvings in the world. Here the list of 10 most amazing colossal statues in the world.

9 Colossal Statue of Shapur I, Iran

Colossal statue of Shapur I can be located in Shapur cave in the city of Bhishapur, Iran. It was build in the memory of Shapur I, the second king of Sassanid empire. This impressive colossal statue have height of 6.7 meters and have breath of 2 meters.

This statue was made of using huge stalagmite rocks, which extract from the floor of caves. The concrete pillars at the feet protect this statue from Earthquakes. Some parts of arms and legs missed from this statue. The wide trousers and upper garments reflects the dressing style of Sassanid empire. It is also possible to see some of jewellery carvings om this statue.

8 Dying Lion of Lucerne, Switzerland

Dying lion sculpture also known as lion of Lucerne found within Lucerne city of Switzerland. This statue was designed in the memory o soldiers who lost their lives in French revolution in 1792 for king Louis XVI. ‘Helvetiorum fidei AC virtuti’ The Latin inscription on the statue meant that ‘To the loyalty and bravery of Swiss’.

The lion monument was carved down in sandstone rock beside of pond. This monument have length of 10 meter and height of 6 meter. It was designed by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, started work in 1818 and finished in 1821.

7 Avukana Buddha Statue, Sri Lanka

Avukana Buddha statue is one of attractions from ancient Sri Lanka. It is also stands as the tallest Buddha statue of the country. This 40 feet high Buddha statue carved out during 5th century in massive granite rock.

Avukana Buddha statue reflect the mixture of Gandhara and Amaravati school art. The straight Buddha statue stands with right hand rising posture, also can see robe clutches at left shoulder.The expression of face of statue reflect the spiritual supremacy.

6 Apennine Colossus, Italy

It is the most spectacular attraction in villa demidoff garden in Florida, Italy. It was constructed in 1518 by the Italian sculptor Giambologna. The sculpture stood like the protector of pond beside him.

Apennine colossus have height of 35 feet, the shaggy beard and posture becomes special attraction for all visitors. There is also passageways inside of this statue, leading to the fountain of garden.

5 Tirthankara Jain Sculptures, India

Tirthankara Jain sculptures are one of finest attractions in ancient city of Gwalior, india. These sculptures also shows off the architectural skills of minorities of Jainism. Visitors can see hundreds of Jain sculptures in different sizes, the tallest sculptures have height of 57 feet.

All of these Jain sculptures designed back in 15th century. Actually these sculptures belong to different groups according to the figure of them, postures of seated Adinatha and seated Neminath.

4 Statue of Decebalus, Romania

It is the tallest rock carving of Europe, located in the bank of danube river in Orsova. It was built in the memory of Dacian king Decebalus. It took 10 years for the completion of this rock structure, commissioned by historian Losif Constantin Dragan. Statue of Decebalus have height of 40 meters, means taller than that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro.

3 Mount Rushmore, United States

Mount Rushmore national monument can be located in South Dakota in United States. The faces of U.S presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved within rock of Mount Rushmore. More than 3 millions of people visit this national monument every year.

Starting from 1927 it took almost 14 years for completion of this beautiful monument. It stands as the iconic symbol of presidential greatness and can see history alives in stone.

2 Leshan Giant Buddha, China

Leshan giant Buddha is the largest stone Buddha in the world, located in city of Leshan, China. This 233 foot tall stone Buddha designed in 8th century, carved in cliff side of Xijuo peak. The statue actually facing mount Emei, Leshan giant Buddha along with mount Mei also get listed on UNESCO’s world heritage sites.Mount Emei is one of holiest sites of Buddhism in China.

Haitong, who commissioned the construction of this giant sculpture believed that Buddha would calm down the river currents which flows near to where sculpture situated. There also remains a local saying ‘Mountain is a Buddha and Buddha is a mountain’ after the construction of this giant sculpture.

Colossal Statue of Shapur I

The Colossal Statue of Shapur I‌ (Persian: پیکره شاپور یکم) is a statue of Shapur I (AD 240–272), the second shah (king) of the Sassanid Empire. It stands in the Shapur cave, a huge limestone cave located about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur in the south of Iran.

About 1400 years ago, after the Arab invasion of Iran and collapse of the Sasanian Empire, the statue was pulled down and a part of one of its legs was broken. About 70 years ago, again, parts of his arms were also broken in an earthquake. The statue had been lying on the ground for about 14 centuries until 1957 when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, had a group of Iranian military to raise it again on its feet and repair the broken foot with iron and cement. The project of raising the statue, building the roads from Bishapur to the area and paths in the mountain, stairs and iron fences on the route to the cave took six months in 1957.

The statue is about 35 m from the cave entrance, on the fourth of five terraces, lying approximately 3.4 m below the level of the cave entrance. Its height of about 6.7 m and breadth across the shoulders of more than 2 m make it one of the most impressive sculptures from the Sassanian period.

9. Colossal Statue of Shapur I: Iran

The second Sassanian king, Shapur I, ruled from 240 to 272 AD. As the Sassanid Kings’ crowns all differed and depended on strict governance, the statue was easily identified. The impressive 21 ft. (6.7 m) statue was masterfully sculpted from a stalagmite inside the Shapur Cave not far from the ancient city of Bishapur. No longer in situ (on location,) the artwork broke free from its original position during an earthquake some time after the 14th century. However, it has since been placed on pillars near its original feet. Missing parts of its arms and legs, the statue is nonetheless beautifully preserved, and is remarkably elaborate.

Considered to be one of the world’s largest and oldest statues, the Great Sphinx of Giza measures 240 feet long and 66.31 feet tall. The Great Sphinx is known to be a mythical creature with a head of a human and a body of a lion and its face was believed to represent the face of Pharaoh Khafre. It is made out of limestones and it is facing directly from west to east. The Great Sphinx is the oldest known sculpture in Egypt.

ŠĀPUR I: The Great Statue

The great statue of &Scaronāpūr I stands in the so-called cave of &Scaronāpur, a huge limestone cave in southern Iran (Figure 1), about 6 km from the ancient city of Bi&scaronāpur. The cave of &Scaronāpūr contains two different sectors. Sector A encompasses the entrance area of the cave and has five wide man-made terraces. The statue of &Scaronāpūr I, situated circa 35 meters from the cave&rsquos entrance, stands on the fourth terrace of the sector A. Sector B is a huge hall with several corridors (Figure 2).

With a height of about 6.70 meters and a width across the shoulders of more than 2 meters, the monumental statue of &Scaronāpūr I can be considered the most impressive extant sculpture dating from the Sasanian period (224-652). It is carved out of a huge stalagmite formed in situ. It is rich in details and sculptured on each side with extraordinary care and attention.

The head, topped by a crenellated crown, and the body of the sculpture, are in good condition. The constitutive parts of the arms and almost both legs are missing (Figure 3). The sculptor chiseled the statue in accordance with the same measurement and aesthetic canon that was used for other rock reliefs of &Scaronāpūr I (240-272), such as Bi&scaronāpur II and III (Garosi, p. 12). After its fall, most probably the result of a strong earthquake in the period between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, the sculpture was raised again in the 1950s on two concrete pillars standing near its original feet. It is quite conceivable that the well-known proportions of the human body with division into nine head lengths were used for the chiseling of this sculpture. Accordingly, it is feasible that the concrete pillars are about half a head length too short.

The colossal statue has an athletic physique and muscular biceps, voluminous chest, and a flat stomach. The neck of the imposing figure is extraordinarily broad and strong. The right hand of the statue is akimbo, and the left hand is lying on the heavily weathered sword hilt.

The head and the hair of the statue have been carved out in all their particulars symmetrically. Under the diadem, the hair of the monumental statue flows out and lies on the shoulders. The king has a moustache, a short beard, and a long chin beard (Figure 4). He is also wearing three pieces of jewelry: a necklace, earrings made of large pearls, and a bracelet on the right wrist.

The garment of the statue consists of three pieces: an undershirt, an upper garment, and wide trousers. The upper garment of the sculpture fits tightly to the body and consists of a sheer fabric. Its skin-tight fashion emphasizes the contours of the shoulders, the upper arms, and the chest of the king. At the waist, the upper garment is held together tightly by a belt, while a second belt, which is hanging loosely around the hips, fastens the sword scabbard. The bossed ornaments on the upper garment are remarkable in the way they resemble flames flickering downward. They vary in length and are molded differently and irregularly arranged. Both belts are tied with a broad ribbon.

Only a small part of the legs of the colossal statue of &Scaronāpur I has survived. The small remains of the left thigh indicates that the ruler was wearing wide, fluted trousers. The same model of trousers can also be seen on all rock reliefs of &Scaronāpur I.

The feet of the statue are somewhat spread the left foot is situated a little ahead of the right one. The original shoes of the statue are in different conservation status. The right shoe is largely destroyed, while the left one is virtually intact and has a round toecap. Today, the traces of the shoelaces are to be seen on the cave&rsquos floor and near the original shoes of the statue.

It is well known that in the Sasanian period the shape of the crown changed from king to king. Because of the crenellated crown and on the basis of art historical considerations, the statue can almost definitely be identified as that of &Scaronāpur I, the second Sasanian king (Garosi, p. 8).

&Scaronāpur I is not always shown wearing a crenellated crown, but he is never represented with a crenellated crown without a corymb. This brings up the question whether there was originally a corymb on the crown of the colossal statue. On the vertex of the statue and within the crenellations of the crown, there can be seen a hole. This hole clearly evinces the existence of a corymb, made certainly not of stone but of metal, atop the crown.

The historian Moqaddasi, who visited the cave of &Scaronāpur in the 10th century, noticed green color on the crown of the statue and reported: &ldquoA parsang from al Nawbandijān is a likeness of Shapur, at the mouth of a cave he is wearing a crown, at the base are three leaves of green &hellip&rdquo (Collins, p. 392). This suggests that the corymb of the statue was most probably made of bronze, which in the 10th century, when Moqaddasi saw the statue, had already been oxidized. The fact that no fragments of corymb have remained can be explained by the possibility that, after the fall of the statue, some valuable items were looted.

The great statue of &Scaronāpur I had been carved out most probably during his own reign (240-72) and can be dated back to the years between 265 and 270. The fact that the hairstyle of the statue, fashioned in curly strands of hair lying on top of each other, similar to what can be seen only on the rock reliefs of &Scaronāpur I, sculpted after 260, strongly supports this dating (Garosi, p. 27).

The question of the raison d&rsquoêtre of this statue in the cave is fraught with difficulties. There are no references to the &Scaronāpur cave in the many inscriptions dating from his reign. Furthermore, neither sector A nor sector B of the cave has been so far systematically explored. Unfortunately, the majority of the excavation findings and almost all excavation reports by Roman Ghirshman, who excavated in Bi&scaronāpur (1935-1941), were irretrievably lost (Ghirshman, 1971, p. 6 Garosi, p. 5).

Despite of all these uncertainties, there are some speculations in archeological literature about the cave and its sculpture. For example, Ernst Herzfeld and Ghirshman hold that the cave was the gravesite of &Scaronāpur I (Herzfeld, p. 320 Ghirshman, 1962, p. 165), although there are no traces of a grave, or an astodān or a cenotaph in the cave.

In the Sasanian Period, there was apparently a cult in which water played an important role. A building in Bi&scaronāpur, constructed most likely under the reign of &Scaronāpur I, is the only ascertained archeological site dated from the Sasanian period that can be connected with a water cult (Garosi, p. 34).

With regard to the &Scaronāpur cave, it is not precluded that it once provided a site of the ruler cult. The fact that there are three water basins in the cave&mdashtwo at the end of section A and the third at the end of section B&mdashmay well justify this claim. Furthermore, the original feet of the statue stand neither on a pedestal nor directly on the flattened cave floor. Instead, they stand in a rectangular deepening carved in the cave floor, which is now badly eroded. This shallow deepening with a depth of 30 cm could once have functioned as a water container. Thus, it is conceivable that the feet of the statue were standing always or at least on specific occasions in water. If this is the case, most probably the cave of &Scaronāpur had once functioned as a site for a ruler cult, with some correlation to a water cult (Garosi, p. 35).

B. A. Collins, ed. and tr., The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions: A Translation of &ldquoAhsan al-taqasim fi marifat al-aqalim&rdquo/al-Muqadassi, Reading, 1994.

G. R. Garosi, Die Kolossal-Statue &Scaronāpūrs I. im Kontext der sasanidischen Plastik, Mainz, 2009.

R. Ghirshman, Iran, Parther und Sasaniden, tr. and ed. A. Malraux and G. Salles, Munich, 1962.

Statue and Cave of Shapur I

In the beautiful Zagros mountains, located in the southern region of Iran about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur, you will find one of the numerous mesmerizing pieces of history in Iran. A 7-meter colossal statue of Shapur I, the second ruler of the legendary Sasanid Empire (224-651 AD).

The Sasanid Empire was founded by Ardashir I, the father of Shapur I. This well-known dynasty was the last Persian Empire before the Muslim conquest, about 1400 years ago. The Sasanid Empire was recognized as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring rivals Roma-Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.
Shapur I’s rule was marked by successful military and political struggles and two wars with the Roman Empire. During the second war, Shapur captured the Roman Emperor, Valerian and his entire army at the battle of Edessa.

Additionally, people might have respected him even more due to his support of religious freedom. Shapur himself was a strong believer in Zoroastrianism (an ancient religion originated in Persia). However, he supposedly was extremely supportive of other religions as well, especially towards Jews and Christians. Shapur would have allowed Christians to build churches without the need of any agreement from the Sasanian court.

Although Shapur wished to be admired and remembered as a true conquer, he had other impressive talents. He was a great administrator, instituted policies of religious tolerance and encouraged the arts and culture.

The statue of Shapur has been carved from one big stalagmite. Inside the cave, beautiful natural rock formations have been created over thousands of years. Limestone caves like these are formed by various geological processes, for example by the erosion from water, microorganisms, pressure and other atmospheric influences.

The monument of Shapur had collapsed before it was re-discovered in modern times. It supposedly fell down during a powerful earthquake, which happened between the 15th and 19th century. In the 1950s, the statue was raised again, with some needed restoration mainly on the legs of Shapur.

The Shapur Cave has only recently been recognized as a UNESCO site. The benefit of the rather late recognition of this historical site is the untouched and pure feel it still has. There is not a light system set up and no pathway laid out, which will give you the true feeling of you being the very first to discover this majestic place.

Besides the statue and cave being absolutely captivating, the hike up to the monument is also one of the numerous breathtaking hikes you can do around Iran. Most of the time, the pathway up to the cave is pretty quiet which will add to the experience. When you are halfway through your hike, you will have this scenic view over the whole mountain region, you will see a plantation of oranges over at the other side, which makes the overall view absolutely stunning.

War against the Roman Empire

First Roman war

File:N-Mesopotamia and Syria.svg Ardashir I had, towards the end of his reign, renewed the war against the Roman Empire. Shapur I conquered the Mesopotamian fortresses Nisibis and Carrhae and advanced into Syria. In 242, the Roman emperor Gordian III set out against the Sasanians with “a huge army and great quantity of gold,” (according to a Sasanian rock relief) and wintered in Antioch, while Shapur was busy in subduing Khwarezm and Gilan. [8] There Gordian fought against the Sasanians and won repeated battles, and recaptured Carrhae and Nisibis, and at last routed a Sasanian army at Resaena, forcing Shapur to restore all occupied cities unharmed to their citizens. “We have penetrated as far as Nisibis, and shall even get to Ctesiphon,” he wrote to the Senate.

Gordian III later invaded eastern Mesopotamia but faced tough resistance from the Sasanians following this blockade Gordian died in battle and the Romans chose Philip the Arab as Emperor. Philip was not willing to repeat the mistakes of previous claimants, and was aware that he had to return to Rome in order to secure his position with the Senate. Philip concluded a peace with the Sasanians in 244 he had agreed that Armenia lay within Persia’s sphere of influence. He also had to pay an enormous indemnity to the Persians of 500,000 gold denarii. [9] Philip immediately issued coins proclaiming that he had made peace with the Persians (pax fundata cum Persis). [10] However, Philip later broke the treaty and seized lost territory. [9] Shapur I commemorated this victory on several rock reliefs in Pars.

Second Roman war

Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia in 250 but serious trouble arose in Khorasan and Shapur I had to march over there and settle its affair. Having settled the affair in Khorasan he resumed the invasion of Roman territories and later annihilated a Roman force of 60,000 at the Battle of Barbalissos and burned and ravaged the Roman province of Syria and all its dependencies.

Shapur I then reconquered Armenia, and incited Anak the Parthian to murder the king of Armenia, Khosrov II. Anak did as Shapur asked, and had Khosrov murdered in 252 yet Anak himself was shortly thereafter murdered by Armenian nobles. [11] Shapur then appointed his son Hormizd I as the “Great King of Armenia”. With Armenia subjugated, Georgia submitted to the Sasanian Empire and fell under the supervision of a Sasanian official. [9] With Georgia and Armenia under control, the Sasanians' borders on the north were thus secured.

During Shapur's invasion of Syria he captured important Roman cities like Antioch. The Emperor Valerian (253–260) marched against him and by 257 Valerian had recovered Antioch and returned the province of Syria to Roman control. The speedy retreat of Shapur's troops caused Valerian to pursue the Persians to Edessa, but they were defeated by the Persians, and Valerian, along with the Roman army that was left, was captured by Shapur [10] and sent away into Pars. Shapur then advanced into Asia Minor and managed to capture Caesarea, deporting 400,000 of its citizens to the southern Sasanian provinces. [ citation needed ]

However, he was later defeated by Balista and Septimius Odenathus, who captured the royal harem. Shapur plundered the eastern borders of Syria and returned to Ctesiphon, probably in late 260. [9] In 264 Septimius Odenathus reached Ctesiphon, but was defeated by Shapur I. [12] [13] [14]

One of the great achievements of Shapur's reign was the defeat of the Roman Emperor Valerian. This is presented in a mural at Naqsh-e Rustam, where Shapur is represented on horseback wearing royal armour and a crown. Before him kneels Valerian, in Roman dress, asking for grace. The same scene is repeated in other rock-face inscriptions. [15] Shapur is said to have publicly shamed Valerian by using the Roman Emperor as a footstool when mounting his horse. [16] Other sources contradict this and note that in other stone carvings Valerian is respected and never on his knees. This is supported by reports that Valerian and some of his army lived in relatively good conditions in the city of Bishapur and that Shapur utilized the assistance of Roman engineers in his engineering and development plans.

The colossal statue of Shapur I, which stands in the Shapur cave, is one of the most impressive sculptures of the Sasanian Empire.

Monuments and Sculptures in Iran

Iran is an ancient country with a rich culture. The country’s cultural heritage also includes numerous sculptures and monuments, with an important historical event or person associated with each of the sculptures. Traveling around the country we have found the most interesting sculptures and monuments.

Monuments and sculptures in Iran: Monument to Abu Reyhan al-Biruni, Tehran

There is an interesting monument depicting the wizard Abu Reyhan al-Biruni in Laleh Park, Tehran. In fact, the wizard was a scientist and thinker of the XI century known for his works in astronomy, geodesy, geography, history, etc. The author of the monument is Mohammad Ali Modadi.

Monuments and sculptures in Iran: Simurgh, Tehran

Every Iranian knows the legend of the magic bird Simurgh. The legend tells of a mythical bird that lived on the top of Elbrus. Once Simurgh heard the cry of a child. It was a newborn baby albino named Zal, the future father of the great warrior Rustam. The Simurgh grew up the orphan, and when Zal decided to return to earth, the bird gave him three feathers. Zal could call Simurgh for help burning a feather. Zal burned the first feather when his wife was giving birth to Rustam. Zal was afraid that his wife Rudaba would die during childbirth. Simurgh heard Zal and taught him to do a cesarean section. The mythic bird from the epic “Shahname” Firdausi has its own beautiful sculpture in the city of Nishapur, province of Khorasan – Rezavi.

Monuments and sculptures in Iran: Colossal Statue of Shapur

The sculpture of the shah of the Sassanid dynasty is another important historical monument. Moreover, the sculpture is considered one of the most priceless monuments of the Sasanid era. Colossal Statue of Shapur is located in the province of Fars, in the cave of Shapur. The sculpture has protected the entrance to the cave for more than 1700 years.

The monument is carved from a stalagmite, unfortunately, it was badly damaged during the invasion of the Arabs. The legs and hands of the sculpture suffered, but even in this form, the Colossal Statue of Shapur is an important part of the cultural heritage.

Monuments and sculptures in Iran: The monument of Nadir Shah, Mashhad

The monument of the ruler Nadir Shah is located in Mashhad town, above his mausoleum. The monument represents a shah on horseback, leading soldiers.

Nadir Shah ruled in the XVIII century, was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty. During his rule, the territory of Iran included the lands of modern Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, part of Dagestan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mashhad became the capital of the huge empire.

Monuments and sculptures in Iran: Bronze figures in Yazd

In Yazd, one of the most ancient cities of Iran, every house and every corner can be considered a historical monument. Thus, in the Amir-Chagmag square, in front of the caravanserai, there are bronze figures of men pouring water. The monument is dedicated to water, the most valuable thing in the city. The extraction of water in a desert city has always been a problem. For water extraction in the city, a unique system for extracting water from underground canals was installed. Thanks to the system, Yazd received water from sources that were at great distances. Detailed scheme and process of water extraction is presented in the water museum.

Monuments and sculptures in Iran: Darband climber, Tehran

The Darband climber is a symbol of athletes and winter games. The monument was installed at the request of mountaineers in the 1950s in Tehran. The monument was istalled on Darband Square, Tehran, as one of the signs for climbers. The Darbans climber points the way through the Darband region to one of the peaks of Elbrus.

Monuments and sculptures in Iran: The sculpture of a lion, Hamadan

The stone lion in Hamadan, according to legend, was carved for Alexander the Great in memory of his lost friend Hephaestion. According to another version, this is one of the lions guarding the entrance to the cemetery. The entrance gate and the second lion were destroyed in 931 BC. Ancient sculpture of a lion is considered one of the attractions and symbol of Hamadan. Locals believe that the lion protects them from the evil spirit. There is also a popular belief the locals believe that if an unmarried girl wants to get married as soon as possible, she must pour a lion with a mixture of honey, milk and vinegar. Then she puts a small stone on the spot where mixture is poured and if the stone stays on its place, soon the girl will get marry.

Colossal Statue of Shapur I - History

Building Name: Colossal Statue of Shapur I
Native Name: پیکره شاپور یکم
Other Names:
Address: Shapur cave - 29°46′40″N 51°34′15″E
City: Bishapur, kazerun, Shiraz
Postal Code:
State/Province: Fars
Country: Iran

- antenna:
- spire:
- roof: 6.7 m

Current Building Status: Built

Construction Dates--
- started:
- finished: 260
- destroyed:

Structure Type(s): Statue
Building Use(s): Monument
Building Style(s): Sasanid
Building Materials: stone (stalagmite)


Name: Colossal Statue of Shapur I
City: kazerun
Country: Iran
Illustrator: smh304
Status: built
Built: 260
Use: monument
Roof: 6.7 m

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