Length: 218.440 cm
Width: 96.520 cm
The palace was excavated by A.H. Layard (from 1845)
Room 7-8: Assyria: Nimrud
Stone relief from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II (Room B, Panel 10)
Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, 883-859 BC
Chariots charging into battle
The two chariots shown on the relief carry standards probably symbolizing the ancient Mesopotamian gods Adad and Nergal. Adad embodied the power of storms but also had a beneficent aspect as a god of fruitful rain and mountain streams, imprtant in areas such as Assyria where rain was vital for agriculture. He is often represented on stelas in symbolic form by a forked lightning bolt. On other monuments he is associated with a bull or a lion-dragon. Storm clouds were called Adad's 'bull-calves'.
Nergal was a god associated with the Underworld and was usually regarded as the husband of Ereshkigal, queen of the Underworld. He was also associated with forest fires, fevers and plagues, and sometimes, as here, he had a warlike aspect, usually carrying a scimitar and a single or double-headed lion-sceptre.
The scene is continued to the right and left.
E.A.T.W. Budge, Assyrian sculptures in the B-1 (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1914)
J. Black and A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols of -1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)