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relief

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    118908

  • Description

    Gypsum wall panel relief; carved in low relief; the text on this panel describes a campaign in the north, but the upper composition represented a campaign in the west, and the name of the town represented, Astartu, is given in a caption at the top. Astartu is shown as a typical Middle Eastern fortress town, built on top of a mound which probably covered the remains of much older settlements. There are towers at intervals along the walls, and a high town gate; inside, at the top on the left, is a building with an arched entrance, perhaps the citadel. The town has just been captured and its inhabitants are being marched away. An Assyrian soldier waving a mace escorts four prisoners, who carry their possessions in sacks over their shoulders. Their clothes and their turbans, rising to a slight point which flops backwards, are typical of the area; people from the Biblical kingdom of Israel, shown on other sculptures, wear the same dress. Above them a second Assyrian soldier is driving two fat-tailed sheep. Further to the right they would have met the Assyrian king, reviewing his troops and their booty.

    In the lower register, the king Tiglath-pileser III himself appears in a chariot under his tasselled state parasol, which is held by a eunuch. He wears the royal hat, somewhat higher than the ninth-century type, and a fringed robe. His right hand is raised, while his left holds a flower. His chariot is larger than the ninth-century type, with a quiver at the front, and the wheels have eight spokes rather than six. The patterns on the cloth hanging between the front of the chariot and the yoke include a winged disc, a solar symbol of great significance throughout the Ancient Near East. The charioteer holds three reins, but two horses are actually shown drawing the chariot, gaily caparisoned and led by a pair of grooms wearing quivers. The one man visible in the poorly preserved chariot to the right once held a pole with a circular ornament on top; this was one of the sacred standards which accompanied the Assyrians into battle.

    This slab is inscribed.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 730BC-727BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 188 centimetres
    • Width: 195 centimetres
    • Thickness: 16 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        centre of panel
      • Inscription Comment

        The inscription identifies the city as Astartu, the Biblical Ashtaroth Karnaim in Gilead (now identified as Tell Ashtara).
  • Curator's comments

    This panel, once the left end of a composition, was found reused in a later palace. It belonged to a series in which a central band of inscription, listing the events of the reign in chronological order, divided two independent compositions in separate registers.

    An original drawing of the lower register of this relief is in the British Museum's 'Original Drawings of Assyrian Sculptures' collection: Or.Dr.I, pl. XXIX: 'Slab built into S.W. Palace' , and is published in Barnett & Falkner (1962), 'The Sculptures of Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 B.C.)', pl. LXVIII.

    The central band of inscription can be found in 'Annals', ll. 177-90. The inscription on this slab is also recorded in Rawlinson (1870), 'The cuneiform inscriptions of Western Asia, III' 10, No.l (= Rost (1893), 'Die Keilschrifttexte Tiglat-Pilesers III', pl.VIII) - it deals with Tiglath-pileser III's campaigns in the North.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 Bas-Reliefs".

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  • Bibliography

    • Rawlinson H C & Smith G 1870a 10, No. 1 (inscription) bibliographic details
    • Curtis & Reade 1995a 13 bibliographic details
    • Curtis & Reade 1994a 13 bibliographic details
    • Unger 1917 No.25 bibliographic details
    • Barnett & Falkner 1962 p. 30, plates LXVIII-LXXI bibliographic details
    • Gadd 1936b p.157 bibliographic details
    • Rost 1893b pl. VIII (inscription) bibliographic details
    • Smith 1938d plate 9 bibliographic details
    • Collon 2010a pp.153-55, fig.6a (on the bracelets) bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G6a

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.40
    1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.40
    1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.40

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1851

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    118908

  • Registration number

    1851,0902.498

COMPASS Title: Stone panel from the Central Palace of Tiglath-pileser III

Unknown

COMPASS Title: Stone panel from the Central Palace of Tiglath-pileser III

Image description

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Object reference number: WCO23165

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