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Currently shown

Genie Before the Sacred Tree

Location

IRAQ, NIMRUD, PALACE OF ASHURNASIRPAL II

Era

Neo-Assyrian Empire, reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.E.)

Culture

Assyrian

Title

Genie Before the Sacred Tree

Date

869-865 B.C.E.

Materials

Alabaster

Dimensions

128.3 x 129.9 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1964.Ea.3

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Ashurnasirpal II was the first Assyrian king to embellish the walls of his palace with plaques portraying military campaigns, rituals and hunting scenes. Such images, as well as the standardized wording (in the upper part of the work) stating the monarch’s titles and great deeds, were probably intended to impress visitors. For their part, many reliefs decorated with winged figures seem to have had a protective function. Here, the winged being holds a bucket and waves an object, possibly a pine cone, towards a stylized tree. This relief adorned Room H of the palace, a space construed to have been a reception hall. Subsequent to the excavations carried out by Henry Layard (1845-1851), numerous reliefs were dispatched to Europe and North America. Many of the reliefs that remained in situ, which had survived both the passage of time and plundering, were destroyed during the occupation of the site from 2014 to 2016 by the organization Islamic State (Daesh).

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