Documentary about World’s Oldest Animation (Involving Iranian Pottery) Stirs Controversy





The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) announced on Monday that it has recently completed the production of a documentary about the ancient Iranian earthenware bowl bearing the world’s oldest example of animation.

Directed by Mohsen Ramezani, the 11-minute film gives viewers an introduction to the bowl, which was discovered in a grave at the 5200-year-old Burnt City by an Italian archaeological team in late 1970s.

The artefact bears five images depicting a wild goat jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree, which the members of the team at that time had not recognised the relationship between the pictures.

Several years later, Iranian archaeologist Dr Mansur Sadjadi, who became later appointed as the new director of the archaeological team working at the Burnt City discovered that the pictures formed a related series.

Nonetheless, according to English daily Mehr, during a ceremony held on Sunday to promote the production, CHTHO's cultural authorities claimed the image is a depiction of ‘Assyrian Tree of Life’: “the earthenware bowl, which is wrongly known as ‘The Burnt City’s goat’, depicts the myth of ‘The Assyrian Tree of Life’ and a goat.”

Depiction of ‘The Assyrian Tree of Life’ on this bowl which was made at least 1000 years before the Assyrian civilisation even appear in historical records is one of the most preposterous claims by the new-breed of experts in post-revolutionary Iran.

The image is a simple depiction of a tree and wild-goat (Capra aegagrus) also known as 'Persian desert Ibex', and since it is an indigenous animal to the region, it would naturally appear in the iconography of the Burnt City. ...


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