Collection online

The Black Obelisk

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    118885

  • Title (object)

    • The Black Obelisk
  • Description

    Black limestone obelisk of Shalmaneser III; glorifies achievements of king and minister; inscription; illustrations show tribute from all directions; tribute bearers in five rows, identified by captions; each row has four panels, one on each side of the obelisk; 1. Gilzanu (North West Iran) tribute includes horses; 2. House of Omri (Ancient Israel- tribute from Biblical King Jehu 841BC); 3. Musri, or Egypt tribute or gift of elephant, ape and other exotic animals; 4. Suhi on the Euphrates, scene of animal hunting; 5. Patina in Southern Turkey.

    More 

  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 825BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 197.48 centimetres
    • Height: 81.91 centimetres (of plinth)
    • Width: 45.08 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        cuneiform
      • Inscription Language

        Akkadian
  • Curator's comments

    A "stone copy" of the Black Obelisk was deposited by one Colonel Gosforth of 155b Cromwell Road, London on 29 December 1933 and was kept in SR 33 [implying that it was of reduced scale] until it was returned to the owner on 14 September 1938. The original sculpture was moulded as a commercially available cast (listed in the BM Facsimile Service, Catalogue of Replicas). The cast is listed as available in the British Museum Facsimile Service 'Catalogue of Replicas from British Museum collections' (n.d.), in the series "Assyrian Stelae". Two copies still retained by ANE at Blythe House (from 2002). A cast was also shown on the set of Wolfgang Pedersen's film "Troy" (2004). The detail showing the submitting Jehu was moulded as a facsimile by Mike Nielson in January 2006, using one of the BMCo casts as the "original". A duplicate coloured facsimile cast was then presented by Nielson to ANE. Another cast of the complete Black Obelisk was formerly exhibited in one of the Assyrian Halls of the Iraq Museum (illustrated by F. Basmachi: 'Treasures of the Iraq Museum', Baghdad 1975, pp. 241, 403, no. 148).

    No. 13 in a previously issued series of postcards captioned "Assyrian monuments bearing on Bible history in the British Museum".

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Volling 2006a p.112, fig.84 bibliographic details
    • Kohler-Rollefson 1993a p.187 (detail of camel) bibliographic details
    • Gadd 1934c pl. II (light greyish appearance) bibliographic details
    • Guide 1900a pp.24-25 & facing plate bibliographic details
    • Grayson, RIMA 3 RIM.A.0.102.14.1 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G6a

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    Assyrian Central Saloon (no.98)

    Nimrud Central Saloon (1900 Guide)

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1848

  • Acquisition notes

    Register entry transcribed from General Register of Antiquities in MLA.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    118885

  • Registration number

    1848,1104.1

  • Additional IDs

    • 98 (exhibition number (Nimrud Central Saloon))

Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: WCO26594

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...