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Bronze band from the gates of the palace of Shalmaneser III


Height: 27.000 cm
Width: 180.000 cm
Thickness: 1.000 mm

ME 124661

Room 6: Assyrian sculpture


    Bronze band from the gates of the palace of Shalmaneser III

    Balawat (ancient Imgur-Enlil), northern Iraq
    Neo-Assyrian, 858-824 BC

    Tablets inform us that the gates at Balawat (one days march to the north-east of Nimrud) were made of fragrant cedar wood; they were hung on huge cedar-wood trunks capped with bronze and turned in stone sockets. The gates were perhaps around 6.8 metres high. When they were discovered in 1878 by Hormuzd Rassam, the wood had completely rotted, leaving the bronze fragments now in the Museum. Eight bands were fixed to the outer face of each door, and there is a great variety in the details of the subject-matter and in the workmanship.

    The upper register of this band shows Shalmaneser in the first full year of his reign (858 BC), receiving tribute from the cities of Tyre and Sidon, wealthy Phoenician trading ports on the Mediterranean coast. The Phoenicians, distinguished by their pointed caps, ferry goods across from their island fortress. The man and woman staying on the island are probably the Phoenician king and queen. King Shalmaneser holds a bow and arrow as symbols of the conqueror, and a courtier holds a parasol over him.

    In the lower register the Assyrians are attacking from the right. The town of Hazazu in Syria has been set on fire and the prisoners are escorted into the presence of the king.

    L.W. King, Bronze reliefs from the gates (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1915)

    J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade (eds), Art and empire: treasures from (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


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    On display: Room 6: Assyrian sculpture

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