DĀ O DOḴTAR (lit., “Mother and daughter,” translated by Herzfeld as “The Nurse and the prin­cess”), an important rock-cut tomb, probably of the early Hellenistic period, at the northwestern corner of the Mamasanī region of Fārs. The tomb is situated near Kūpān on the road to Ḵūzestān between Nūrābād and Dogonbadān. From Kūpān it can be reached via the village of Ḥosaynābād (3 km distant), from which it lies about half an hour’s walk northwest.

The interior consists of a large tomb chamber equal in width to the facade between the framing elements, a measure that also corresponds to the height of the sculptured portico. There are no graves in the floor of this chamber, as was probably originally intended, but only a T-shaped drainage channel. A large hole in the ceiling gives access to a second chamber, apparently carved out at a later date (Figure 25a, Figure 25b). Among all the rock-cut tombs of the former territory of Media (von Gall, 1966; idem, 1974; idem, 1988; Huff, 1971) and of Fārs (Huff, 1990) the one at Dā o Doḵtar most closely resembles the royal Achaemenid tombs, in that four engaged columns on the facade appear to support a flat roof. On the other hand, the shape of these columns and their capitals, the entablature with deep central panel, the stepped crenellations, and in particu­lar the small size (facade: 5.50 x 5.80 m; cf. tomb of Darius I, 7.82 x 18.57 m) set it apart.

The columns are arranged in two pairs (“twin col­umns”; cf. Stronach, p. 304) flanking the door, so that the central intercolumniation is the widest, in strong contrast to the intercolumniations at the royal Achaemenid tombs, which are approximately equal but with a tendency for the central one to be slightly narrower (Schmidt, pp. 77-107). Each of the columns rests on a base consisting of two plinths and a torus (Figure 26) and is crowned by a simplified Ionic capital, the volutes of which project strongly from the shaft. This feature lends a pseudo-archaic character to the monument and led Ernst Herzfeld, who discovered it, to suggest an early date, in the late 7th or early 6th century b.c.e. (“tomb of Teïspes or Cyrus I”; Herzfeld, 1935, p. 35; idem, 1941, p. 208). Although Sir Mark Aurel Stein (p. 47) questioned this attribu­tion, Roman Ghirshman (1951, p. 106; idem, 1963, p. 132), Louis Vanden Berghe (1959, p. 58), and Giorgio Gullini (p. 310) have all accepted it.

The closest parallels to the columns at Dā o Doḵtar are to be found in a structure at Ḵorha north of Maḥallāt (Kleiss, 1973, pp. 180-82; idem, 1981, pp. 65-67), though the Ionic capitals there are even more simpli­fied. This building is usually dated to the Seleucid or Parthian period. The pairing of the columns at Dā o Doḵtar reflects the influence of Hellenistic facade decoration (Lauter, p. 139; Bieber, p. 170), known from theaters, nymphaea, and decorative gates (see darvāza). It thus provides a decisive argument for a similar late date for Dā o Doḵtar. This style was continued in Roman times and was taken as the model for such highly developed facades as that of the Parthian palace at Aššur, with its paired triple and quadruple engaged columns (Andrae and Lenzen, 1933, pp. 25ff.). The early Hellenistic period thus seems the most probable date for Dā o Doḵtar, which is registered as no. 299 in the list of historical monuments of Persia.



W. Andrae and H. Lenzen, Die Partherstadt Assur, Wissenschaftliche Veröffent­lichung der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 57, 1933.

M. Bieber, The History of Greek and Roman Theater, Princeton, N.J., 1961.

H. von Gall, “Zu den "medischen" Felsgräbern in Nordwestiran und Iraqi Kurdistan,” Archäologischer Anz., 1966, pp. 19-43.

Idem, “Neue Beobachtungen zu den sogennanten medischen Felsgrabern,” in Proceedings of the IInd Annual Symposium on Archaeological Research in Iran 1973, Tehran, 1974.

Idem, “Das Felsgrab von Qizqapan. Ein Denkmal aus dem Umfeld der achämenidischen Königsstrasse,” Bagdader Mit­teilungen 19, 1988, pp. 557-82.

R. Ghirshman, L’Iran des origines à l’Islam, Paris, 1951; tr. as Iran from the Earliest Times to the Islamic Conquest, Harmondsworth, U.K., 1954.

Idem, Perse. Proto-­Iraniens, Màdes, Achéménides, Paris, 1963. E. Herzfeld, Archaeological History of Iran, London, 1935.

Idem, Iran in the Ancient East, London, 1941.

D. Huff, “Das Felsengrab von Fakhrikah,” Istanbuler Mitteilungen 21, 1971, pp. 161-71.

Idem, “Zum Problem zoroastrischer Grabanlagen in Fars. I. Gräber,” AMI 21, 1988, pp. 145-76.

W. Kleiss, “Qal’eh Zohak in Azerbaidjan,” AMI, N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 180-82.

Idem, “Bemerkungen zum Säulenbau von Khurkha,” AMI 14, 1981, pp. 65-67.

H. Lauter, Die Architektur des Hellenismus, Darmstadt, 1986.

M.-T. Moṣṭafawī, Eqlīm-e Pārs, Tehran 1343 Š./1964; tr. R. N. Sharp as The Land of Pārs, Society for the Protection of National Monuments 48, Chippenham, Eng., 1978.

E. F. Schmidt, Persepolis III. The Royal Tombs and Other Monuments, Orien­tal Institute Publications 70, Chicago, 1970.

M. A. Stein, Old Routes of Western Iran, London, 1940.

D. Stronach, Pasargadae, Oxford, 1978.

L. Vanden Berghe, Archéologie de l’Iran ancien, Leiden, 1959.


Search terms:

دخمه مادر دختر dakhme maadar dokhtar    


(Hubertus Von Gall)

Originally Published: December 15, 1993

Last Updated: November 10, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VI, Fasc. 5, pp. 529-530