Category Archives: Persian Hair Comb

Hair Combs from the Parthian and Sasanian Empires of Ancient Persia

The Parthian Empire existed in Ancient Persia from 247 BC – 224 AD. It is also called the Arsacid Empire after Arsaces I of Parthia, the Parni tribal leader who conquered what is now, modern-day Iran’s northeast region. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the Euphrates in south-eastern Turkey to eastern Iran. Because its territory included the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire and the Han Empire of China, the Empire became a center of world commerce.

It was succeeded by the Sassanid Empire (224-651 AD), which was considered to be equal in power to Rome. The Sassanids also invented the word, “Eran,” which later became Iran. It was the last pre-Islamic Persian empire.

Its art was multicultural, encompassing Persian, Ancient Greek, and regional traditions. These two Parthian pieces, a hair comb and pin, come from the Reza-Abassi Museum in Iran. The jewels are carnelians.

On this gold coin, you can see the Sassanid Emperor Shapur II wearing a crown.


For more scholarly research, please examine

The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Persia: New Light on the Parthian and Sasanian Empires

Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia

Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran

Creative Museum: Persian Ivory Combs

One way to follow human civilization’s advancement is to study the H comb, as it went from utilitarian lice extractor to life-revealing work of art. The French carved masterpieces into their liturgical and secular ivory combs. Turkic tribesmen in Central Asia attached silver frames to wood, and decorated them with carving and jewels. Every H comb has larger, more spaced tines on one side, and delicate thin tines on the other.

In Persia, artists painted colorful miniature scenes of Sultans and their women, which represented the way people ate, drank, dressed, cooked, and spoke to each other in Persian society. Here are three examples from The Creative Museum.

Sultans, eating.

Sultans playing polo?

This comb is missing its close-knit tines on top, but the painting on ivory is detailed and in excellent condition.

The back has a floral design.

In this example, the woman on the far left is using a decorative comb to hold her scarf in place.

So what do you think are they doing to the chickens?