Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Elspeth Dusinberre

Second Advisor

Diane Conlin

Third Advisor

Theodore Stark


Personal adornment is a powerful way to express identities, whether individual or cultural. This thesis uses the lens of Dress Theory to explore adornment in visual culture at the Persian capital city, Persepolis, during the time of Darius I, c. 520 to 494 BCE. Careful analysis of the sculpted reliefs on the tomb of Darius and the buildings of the Palace Terrace, as well as the seals preserved as impressions on the Persepolis Fortification Archive, reveal that dress does four jobs. Adornment demonstrates authority, geographical or notional proximity to authority (status), ethnicity and power. Interestingly, dress is utilized in diverse — even divergent — ways. The individual expressions seen in the visual culture of seals show that dress is employed differently there than on the official imperial expressions of the sculpted reliefs.