(Persia Digest) – The Dash Kasan Temple is a historic site dating back to 700 years ago in Soltanieh, bringing together Chinese and Persian art at its heart.

The Temple is situated 10kms from the southeast of Soltanieh, Zanjan Province in northeastern Iran. Its nearest village is called Vir and is a part of Soltanieh County. The Dash Kasan site is a rectangle measuring 400 meters in length. Its north-south width diminishes with a 50 to 300-meter variation.

The enclosure contains three caves in the mountains, where amazing rock carvings can be seen on the walls between the southern cave and the eastern and western wings of the other two caves.

The carvings show two symmetrical dragons, each measuring 3.50 meters. Arched altars on either side are adorned with arabesque designs (Eslimi), flower patterns, and lithographs.

When archaeologists discovered the petroglyphs, they compared it to the famous ‘Bardeh Tiken’ and ‘Eshkoft-e Farhad’ caves, saying the style of the designs and carvings are similar to Tagh-e Bostan carvings in Kermanshah.

The carvings in Dash Kasan belong to two distinct periods: Mithraism in the Sassanid Period, followed by the Ilkhanate Period and designs of dragons, vine leaves, climbers, and arabesque lines.

The technique used in Dash Kasan Rock Temple is one that evolved from carving rocks with metal tools. Its roots must be sought in the Bronze Age when man was able to make drilling and other carving tools in addition to hatchets, axes, and spears.

The Dash Kasan Rock Temple has a main enclosure where all the artifacts have been discovered, plus a very large courtyard. The main enclosure holds all the mysteries in a fusion of Islamic art and Chinese ornamentations. The dragon carving is a symbol of prosperous living, blessings, and protection for the monarchy.

Legend has it that, under the Moghul rule in Iran in the 8th century when the Moghul Il-Khan, Arghoun, died, Soltan Mohammad Khodabandeh’s sister, Aljaya Khatun, decided to renovate the Temple. She invited Chinese artists to decorate the Temple, who designed and carved the dragons.

The two huge dragons, holding the mysteries of the passage of time in their entwinements, are the main features here – the ever awake guardians of the Temple. The Islamic ornaments, such as the arabesque lines, eye-catching carvings, and fine arrays give the Temple a magnificent aura.


Photos: Somayyeh Pasandideh/Sputnik

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