The existence of a large square tower monument at Paikuli, in the eastern border of the Kurdistan region of modern Iraq, was first
documented by nineteenth-century travelers. Studies were made by Henry Rawlinson in 1844, followed by Edward Thomas and Carl Friedrich
Andreas. By then, the Sasanian Monument was known to have originally served as testimony of the
res gestae of Narseh, son of the Sasanian ruler Shapur, celebrating his triumph over Warham III (Bahram III). The inscription was carried out
in two scripts, Parthian and Middle Persian of the Pahlavi language. Today the inscriptions are either spread throughout the site or stored
at the local Slemani Museum.
Herzfeld visited Paikuli in 1911 and made a first series of squeezes. A second, more labor-intensive campaign followed in the summer of 1913.
He began to systematize the scattered blocks from the tower and made a hypothetical reconstruction. Helmut Humbach and Prods Skjarvo would
make later reconstructions; more recently an Italian team collaborated with local authorities on further conservation and excavations at the site.
We are excited to reopen the Freer on October 7, 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC.