The Sassanians or Sasanians succeeded the Achaemenid Persians, establishing an Empire which, at its peak, expanded from the Euphrates to the Indus Rivers and included modern-day Armenia and Georgia. Sassanian art borrowed from Near Eastern and Greco-Roman traditions, and adapted the significance of these cultures’ iconography to the local repertoire.
Representations of animals comprised a large portion of the Ancient Near Eastern artistic repertoire. Specifically, images of wild animals and features considered dangerous or powerful appear in all periods of ancient Near Eastern art, dating back to the Neolithic period. Bulls, together with lions, became especially prominent and were used to express the power of rulers and deities. They were linked to the storm god Adad and depictions of bulls would have referred to the god’s presence and powers.