Oxus Chariot, 5th-4th century BC
7.5 (height) x 19.5 (length) cm
Takht-i Kuwad, Tajikistan


This miniature model of a gold chariot is one of the most remarkable pieces among the Oxus Treasure—the most important collection of gold and silver which survives from the Achaemenid period (550-331 BC). The chariot is attached by a pair of poles to a horse yoke, which is drawn by four horses. The two figures, one driving, wear different forms of dress, either a short belted tunic for the driver or a long gown with empty sleeves in the case of the principal seated figure. On the front is a representation of the protective Egyptian dwarf-god Bes, perhaps signifying that the object was made for a child. The object’s ornate spoked wheels, which would originally have turned, are so similar to those on chariots carved into the facades of the great Apadana at the Achaemenid royal city of Persepolis in southern Iran that this is a scaled down accurate copy of a real chariot.


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