Ancient near east

The basic building materials of ancient Near Eastern architecture were brick and stone. Increasingly, surfaces were adorned, and then covered. in tiles and relief sculpture. Much of this symbolic sculpture was brightly coloured and supported by inscriptions. The Palace of Persepolis, begun by Darius I in 518 BCE, is the most impressive example of this era

Monumental script 
Babylonian buildings can be read like books. The palace at Nimrud, for example, features reliefs of kings and courtiers superimposed with detailed and lengthy inscriptions listing their achievements 

Animal statuary 
Powerfully sculpted heads, wings, beaks, and claws of real and mythical beasts symbolized the power of kings across the region 

Wall Reliefs 
Stairs and terraces at Persepolis are lined with layers of relief carvings, separated from one another by bands of rosettes. The figures depict stately processions of Persian and foreign nobles, chieftains, courtiers, guardsmen, and tribute bearers from across the ancient empire


Gateway guardians 
Enormous winged bulls with bearded human heads were used to flank the entrances to Assyrian and Persian cities and palaces