Extracts from Chapter 6. 'Greek and non-Greek Interaction in the Art and Architecture of the Hellenistic East' by Malcolm Colledge, in
Hellenism In The East, edited by Amélie Kuhrt and Susan Sherwin-White

Khaltchayan (Халчаян) Reception Hall, 50 BC-50 AD

pp. 159-160

Fig. 10 Khaltchayan, north Bactria, USSR: 'reception hall', plan and front facade, probably c. 50 BC - AD 50 [From G. A. Pugachenkova, Skulptura Khaltchayana, Moscow 1971, 16-17]
At Khaltchayan, in central Asia, a building datable to c. 50 BC-AD 50 - perhaps a reception hall - was built. It contained a six-column portico, a central hall entered (like a 'broad-room' shrine) through its long side, and a ('centralised'?) square inner chamber with two central columns, enclosed by corridors, but with roof edge ornaments (antefixes) and terracotta roof tiles of Greek type (Fig. 10).

Frieze from Khaltchayan Reception Hall, 50 BC-50 AD

pp. 161-162

Fig. 12 Khaltchayan, north Bactria, USSR: 'reception hall', reconstruction of three compositions in painted clay and stucco. (A) Central group: a royal couple with high-ranking persons; (B) North part of main wall: a seated noble, high-ranking clansmen and a goddess on a chariot; (C) South wall: mounted central Asian archers.
[From G. A. Pugachenkova, Skulptura Khaltchayana, Moscow 1971, 51, 61, 71]

Traces of wall-painting including a head in the vestibule of the Khaltchayan 'reception hall' (c. 50 BC-AD 50) show a continuation of the style seen at Dilberdjin. The main reception chamber in the Khaltchayan hall was decorated with splendid wall reliefs in clay and stucco on a wooden frame - in other words in the 'Bactrian' method seen earlier at Ai Khanum and Parthian Nisa - picked out in vivid colours (Fig. 12). In the centre of the main wall sat a royal couple flanked by attendants; on the north side were further nobles, and a goddess on a chariot, while on the south were central Asian archers. Above the whole ensemble ran a garland frieze, held up by Erotes. Most characteristic of this blended style is the great bronze statue of a Parthian grandee from the Shami sanctuary, variously dated c. 50 BC AD 150; although Iranian in subject, the figure exhibits a Greek naturalism (Plate XIV). Thus in this period the hybrid has become completely predominant; and within the possibilities offered by this development, one has emerged pre-eminent: that in which different styles are completely blended.10
Source: PDF of Ch. 6


Khaltchayan in Surxondaryo prov., southern Uzbekistan, site of a settlement and palace of the nomad Yuezhi, with paintings and sculptures of the mid-1st century BCE. The Yuezhi, and perhaps other nomad groups, overthrew the Hellenistic Greek dynasty which had ruled there since the mid-3rd century as successor to the post-Achaemenid governments of Alexander and the Seleucids.
Reference: Iranica online - Khalchayan


Referenced as figure 47 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
47. Restored clay frieze from Khaltchayana Reception Hall, 50 BC-50 AD, Parthian (ex-Pug).
"The Mace" by David Nicolle, an extract from The military technology of classical Islam


Referenced as figure 31 in Armies of Bactria 700BC-450AD by Valerii P Nikonorov


Photos of surviving fragments:
The seated Khaltchayan ruler
The Khaltchayan armour-bearer
A Khaltchayan central-asian horse-archer
The Khaltchayan Cataphract
A head from Khalchayan
Institute of Art. Hamza. Tashkent

A 3D digital Khaltchayan reconstruction by Fritz Göran Vöpel


See also Yuezhi embroidered on three pieces of a carpet, Noyon Uul, Mongolia, after 120 BC
Orlat Battle Plaque, 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD, Sarmatian [Kangju (K'ang-kiu) or Yuezhi]
Kushan Frieze, Buddhist monastery at Airtam, near Termez, Bactria, First century
Kushan Statue of Kanishka, Mathura, India, mid 2nd century AD
Ancient Illustrations & Articles


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