Photographer's Note

Lion, the most significant symbol of Iran since ancient times. Under the reign of His majesty, Cyrus the great, falcon was the symbol of Iran. Later on, in the era of King Darius the great, male lion became the absolute symbol of power in Iran. This continued until the conquest of newly-Muslimed Arabs in Iran, who had brought the new religion, Islam, to the Persian Empire (~7th century A.D). After 4 centuries of forgetfulness, the lion re-appeared again on the Persian coins with a full faced sun above it. In Qajar era, the lion was redesigned, with a scimitar in his right hand and a female faced sun behind it and importantly, the Qajarian Kiani crown on the top. This symbol, called "the Lion & Sun" ("Shirokhordshid" in Persian) became the national official symbol of the Imperial government of Iran and was printed on all official documents and seals or minted on currencies. By the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi the great (1925), the symbol was redesigned again: the feminine face of the sun was removed and the shape of sunrays became more symmetrical. Also the Kiani crown was replaced with the Pahlavi crown. Interestingly, the Iranian governments announced that it will use the Red Lion & sun symbol instead of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent. By the revolution of 1979, this national symbol was considered as an evil sign of monarchy and was removed from all official documents & coins. Unfortunately, the Red Lion & sun symbol was replaced with the Red Crescent too.
This Photo is taken from the bottom part of a pedestal which is still in place in Sepah sq., Tehran. (See related photo)
I love this symbol not only for its national pride but also that I was born under Leo!

نقش برجسته شير، ميدان سپه/ توپخانه، تهران

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Additional Photos by Akbar Shafiee (Leo71538) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 49 N: 167] (555)
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