Stone panel from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal (Room H, nos. 7-9)

Nineveh, northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, about 645 BC

Parkland and Elamites

This panel probably shows part of two independent compositions, in upper and lower registers.

The upper scene may represent parkland in the vicinity of Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, the kind of landscape created by Sennacherib (reigned 704-681 BC), Ashurbanipal's grandfather. Water is brought from the right, across an aqueduct, and distributed through several channels. Remains of the actual arches of Assyrian aqueducts are still visible in northern Iraq. The pavilion, with its elaborate columns, is a type of architecture that was probably introduced from Syria. Within the gardens is an Assyrian stela, similar to a stela of Ashurnasirpal II now in The British Museum.

The three rows in the lower register show soldiers from Iran, possibly the area known as Elam, to the south-east of Mesopotamia. While Elamites are usually shown as enemies of the Assyrians, here they do not appear to be under attack or defeated. There were warring factions in Elam, and whichever of them was losing seems to have looked to Assyria for support. Iranian soldiers also served in the Assyrian army. This then, is probably an expedition on which the Assyrians posed as liberators, in order to gain military and/or political advantage.

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More information

Bibliography

J.E. Reade, Assyrian sculpture-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)

Dimensions

Length: 208.280 cm
Width: 129.540 cm
Length: 208.280 cm
Width: 129.540 cm

Museum number

ME 124939A

WCO27644;WCO26769

The palace was excavated by H. Rassam (from 1853)

Location

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