The Tomb of Payava is a Lycia
n tall rectangular free-standing barrel-vaulted stone sarcophagus
, and one of the most famous tombs of Xanthos
. It was built in the Achaemenid Persian Empire
, for Payava who was probably the ruler of Xanthos
, Lycia at the time, in around 360 BC. The tomb was discovered in 1838 and brought to England in 1844 by the explorer Sir Charles Fellows
. He described it as a 'Gothic-formed Horse Tomb'. According to Melanie Michailidis, though bearing a "Greek appearance", the Tomb of Payava, the Harpy Tomb
and the Nereid Monument
were built according main Zoroastrian
criteria "by being composed of thick stone, raised on plinths off the ground, and having single windowless chambers".
Payava, who is named in the inscriptions, is only known from this tomb. The tomb is a particularly fine example of a common Lycian style, carved from stone but accurately depicting a wooden structure.
Three of the four tiers of the tomb are currently housed in the British Museum
where they dominate the centre of room 20, the lowest tier was left in Turkey and is in a poor state. Displayed with the tomb are other Greek
n objects from 400 to 325 BC.
File:Sarcophagus of Payava from Xanthos from the Entretiens sur l'Architecture, Atlas by Viollet-le-Duc 1863.jpg|Reconstruction drawing of the Payava tomb by Viollet-le-Duc.
File:Lycian rock-cut tombs.jpg|A rock-cut equivalent from Lycia.
File:Payava's tomb xanthos british museum.JPG|Side view of the tomb.
File:Lycian tomb Kas IMGP8941.jpg|Similar Lycian tomb in Kaş.
The reliefs contain illustrations of various events of the life of Payava. The carved frieze
s on the tomb and its roof contain Greek
features, showing the mix of influences in Xanthos at that time and show:
*Two long-haired and bearded men clothed in cuirass
es and cloaks, one of whom may be Payava (South side). — The Lycian
inscription runs: “Payava, son of Ed..
acquired his grave
in the sacred urial
area of the acropolis(?) of Attumba
a (a Lycian ruler), when Lycia saw(?) Slas
??) s governor(?)
This tomb I Payava
made, a 10 year ''iti'' (project?), by means of Xanthian ''ahama''s.”.
*An athlete and companion dressed in a Greek style
*A seated figure, in Persian dress receiving a delegation. Possibly the satrap Autophradates
receiving Payava (West side).
— The Lycian inscription says: "This ''xruwata'' owl?
gave to him Autophradates (''Wataprdata''), the Persian satrap, on(?) the acropolis (?) he received the Lycian (and) ''ma'''naxi''(?)
*Battle of cavalry and foot soldiers (East side and Upper frieze). — The Lycian inscription says: "Payava the ''manaxi'' built this building."
*A bear being hunted (Upper frieze).
*Four horses pulling a Greek chariot
(Roof). Same inscription as on the east side: "Payava the ''manaxi'' built this building."
*A Persian couple (Gable end
File:Tomb of Payava, roof relief.jpg|Tomb of Payava, roof relief
File:Tomb of Payava, east side.jpg|Tomb of Payava, east side
File:Tomb of Payava, south side.jpg|Tomb of Payava, south side
File:Tomb of Payava, west side.jpg|Tomb of Payava, west side
File:Tomb of Payava, south end.jpg|Tomb of Payava, south end
File:Tomb of Payava, north side of frieze.jpg|Tomb of Payava, north side of frieze
File:Tomb of Payava, north end.jpg|Tomb of Payava, north end
File:Tomb of Payava, east side peltasts.jpg|Tomb of Payava, east side. Peltasts fighting Payava on his horse.
Indian architectural parallels
The similarity of the Payava tomb, and more generally the Lycian barrel-vaulted tombs of the 4th century BCE, with the Indian Chaitya
architectural design (starting from circa 250 BCE with the Lomas Rishi
caves in the Barabar caves group
) has also been remarked on. James Fergusson
, in his ''" Illustrated Handbook of Architecture"'', while describing the very progressive evolution from wooden architecture to stone architecture in various ancient civilizations, has commented that "In India, the form and construction of the older Buddhist temples resemble so singularly these examples in Lycia". Ananda Coomaraswamy
and others also noted that "Lydian excavated and monolithic tombs at Pinara and Xanthos on the south coast of Asia Minor present some analogy with the early Indian rock-cut caitya-halls", one of many common elements between Early Indian and Western Asiatic art. The designs of the Lycian rock-cut tombs were quite advanced from an early period, and it is likely that they travelled to India from the trade routes,
or that both traditions derived from a common ancestral source.
The Lycian tombs, dated to the 4th century BCE, are either free-standing or rock-cut barrel-vaulted sarcophagi, placed on a high base, with architectural features carved in stone to imitate wooden structures. There are numerous rock-cut equivalents
to the free-standing structures. Both Greek and Persian influences can be seen in the reliefs sculpted on the sarcophagus. The structural similarities, down to many architectural details, with the Chaitya
-type Indian Buddhist temple designs, such as the "same pointed form of roof, with a ridge", are further developed in ''The cave temples of India''. Fergusson went on to suggest an "Indian connection", and some form of cultural transfer across the Achaemenid Empire
. Overall, the ancient transfer of Lycian designs for rock-cut monuments to India is considered as "quite likely".
The known Indian designs for the Chaityas only start from circa 250 BCE with the Lomas Rishi
caves in the Barabar caves group
, and therefore postdate the Xanthos barrel-vaulted tombs by at least one century. The Achaemenids occupied the northwestern parts of India from circa 515 BCE to 323 BCE following the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley
, before they were replaced with the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great
and subsequent Hellenistic influence in the region
Anthropologist David Napier has also proposed a reverse relationship, claiming that the Payava tomb was a descendant of an ancient South Asian style, and that Payava may actually have been a Graeco-Indian
[According to David Napier, author of ''Masks, Transformation, and Paradox'', "In the British Museum we find a Lycian building, the roof of which is clearly the descendant of an ancient South Asian style.", "For this is the so-called "Tomb of Payava" a Graeco-Indian Pallava if ever there was one." in "Masks and metaphysics in the ancient world: an anthropological view" in . David Napier biograph]
*British Museum information board in room 20
*L. Allen, The Persian Empire: A History (London, British Museum Press, 2005)
*M. Caygill, The British Museum A-Z companion (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)
*E. Slatter, Xanthus: Travels of Discovery in Turkey (London, Rubicon Press, 1994)
*A.H. Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum Vol. 2 (London, British Museum, 1900)
Category:Greek and Roman sculptures in the British Museum
Category:Archaeology of the Achaemenid Empire
Category:1838 archaeological discoveries
Category:1838 in the Ottoman Empire