The “Man with Serpents” revisited. On a Figurated Pin from the Bronze Age Site of Shahdad (Kerman, Iran)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Free University of Berlin, Germany

2 Universitá degli studi di Padova, Italy


We discuss a figured pin from Shahdad, previously well known but published with a partial and unsatisfactory drawing.  More detailed observations and a new, more realistic recording of this important artifact reconsider its stylistic and iconographic links with the imagery of the Halil Rud civilization and the eastern Iranian Plateau in general, and, at its opposite cultural poles, with Mesopotamia and the Indus valley. The  subject, probably a supernatural anthropomorph flanked by two reptiles in heraldic position, is discussed in light of the art of the Halil Rud civilization, and the traditionally negative mythological associations of the “Man with serpents” in ancient Iranian literary tradition and lore.