Correspondence -- By: Anonymous
BSac 9:33 (Jan 1852) p. 229
Letter from Rev. Dr. J. Perkins, Orûmiah, Aug. 9, 1851.
“I recently (though not for the first time), passed an ancient sculpture of interest, in Salmas, which, you will recollect, is on the eastern border of ancient Armenia, and on the western boundary of modern Persia. The Plain of Salmas is sixty miles north of the city of Orûmiah. It is from ten to fifteen miles broad, and at least twenty miles long, and almost a water level; its eastern end lying on the lake of Orûmiah, and its western end and north and south sides being bounded by the Kûrdish mountains. On the southern border of this beautiful plain, about four miles west from the shore of the lake, is the sculpture in question. It is on the southern face of an isolated, craggy cliff of dark colored limestone, that rises abruptly from the plain, just at the foot of the mountain range on the south. It is not . more than one hundred feet north of one of the roads, which lead from the upper or western portion of Salmas over the mountains to the Plain of Orûmiah, the road here passing between this isolated cliff and the mountain. The sculpture is perhaps forty feet above the plain. It is carved on the perpendicular face of the rock, which is hewn to receive it. It consists of two figures, or rather, clusters of figures, three or more feet apart, each, a horse on which is mounted a noble rider, armed with a sword, and a humbler footman at the head of the horse, facing the rider and grasping his right hand, as if to receive a pledge or implore pardon. The figures are as large as life. The horses and riders face the west. The riders are beautifully clad; their heads being mounted with ample turbans having streamers flying from them. The work is very finely executed. Every feature is distinct, spirited and life-like. The figures are entire and perfect, with the exception of a slight injury on the face of one of the riders, caused by the weather. The rock itself being hard, and the sculptured face perpendicular, and on the southern side of the cliff, and thus shielded in a great measure from the common direction of storms, the work remains almost uninjured from age to age. The face of the cliff is broken around the hewn surface on which the sculpture is carved, so that it is impossible to determine in what relation the work originally stood. It may have formed a portion of the interior of a palace, hewn from the natural rock; but any such supposition is of course conjectural. There are no inscriptions on this cliff, nor in the vicinity. The sculpture may probably date from the early periods of the ancient kingdom of Armenia.
“Near the northern side of the old town of Salmas (without the town), now containing about three thousand inhabitants (Jews, Mohammedans and Armenians), which is situated quite at the western end of th...
Click here to subscribe