Diameter: 21.850 cm
Height: 2.550 cm
Excavated by A.H. Layard
Found at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq
About 8th century BC
On 5 January 1849 the excavator Henry Layard made a remarkable discovery in the palace of Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC) at Nimrud. Behind twelve cauldrons was a pile of bronze bowls. Though many had disintegrated, he was able to bring back about 150 complete or fragmentary examples to the British Museum.
Many of the bowls have intricate chased or incised decoration on the inside, though sometimes the designs are embossed or raised from the back. There are various decorative schemes. This bowl has incised decoration. Between the rays of the star are inlaid silver studs. The rows of animals around the star are schematic stags or goats. There are about a dozen bowls of this type known from Nimrud.
The bowl may come from Syria, presumably as booty or tribute by one of the kings who campaigned in the west. It is known from contemporary Assyrian accounts that vast quantities of booty were removed from captured cities. Though, why the bowls came to be piled up in a palace room at Nimrud is unknown.
A.H. Layard, A second series of the monumen (London, J. Murray, 1853)
J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade (eds), Art and empire: treasures from (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
A.H. Layard, Discoveries in the ruins of Ni (London, J. Murray, 1853)