Collection online

wall panel / relief

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    102487

  • Description

    Gypsum wall-relief depicting an Eagle Headed Genii and tree: he wears a kilt with long tassels hanging from it, and a fringed robe, and has two daggers and a whetstone in his belt. The cone in his right hand is described in Assyrian texts as a purifier, and was presumably envisaged as being covered in liquid from the bucket in his left hand. The cone may derive its shape from the male date-spathe, used to fertilise female date-palms.

    On the right is half a Sacred Tree, again a symbol of great importance in Assyria. The trunk has a large palmette at its top, and a network of palmettes surrounding it, only half of which are preserved on this piece. Around the trunk are three sets of horizontal binding, each supporting hornlike growths and volutes, and a chevron pattern runs up it.

    Part of the standard inscription is preserved above the scene.

    More 

  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 875BC-860BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 141 centimetres
    • Width: 95 centimetres
    • Thickness: 4 centimetres (extant)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        top of panel
      • Inscription Language

        Akkadian
      • Inscription Comment

        The standard inscription describing the achievements of the king.
  • Curator's comments

    This winged eagle-headed figure is a classic Assyrian type of protective magical spirit, and great numbers of such figures decorated the palace.

    The Sacred Tree was extremely common in magical sculptures of Ashurnasirpal's reign, and probably represented the fertility of the land which the magical figure was protecting. Parpola (1993) has maintained that it acquired great esoteric significance in Mesopotamian religious thought.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Curtis & Reade 1995a 9 bibliographic details
    • Curtis & Reade 1994a 9 bibliographic details
    • Paley & Sobolewski 1987 p. 17, pl. 1 bibliographic details
    • Budge E A W 1914 pl. XXXVIII.2 bibliographic details
    • British Museum 2011a pp.110-11, cat.72 bibliographic details
    • Grayson, RIMA 2 RIM.A.0.101.23.20 bibliographic details
    • Layard A H 1849b vol. 1, p. 387 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited

    2015-2016 7 Dec-17 Apr, Montreal, Pointe-A-Calliere, Agatha Christie
    2013 - 2014 22 June - 6 Jan, Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, 'Mesopotamia, Inventing Our World'
    2013 30 Jan-13 May, Museum of History, Hong Kong, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
    2012 4 May-7 Oct, Melbourne Museum, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
    2011 28 March-26 June, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Splendours of Mesopotamia'
    2008 21 Sept-2009 4 Jan, Boston, MFA, 'Art and Empire'
    2007 2 Apr-30 Sept, Alicante, MARQ Museum, 'Art and Empire'
    2006 1 Jul-7 Oct, Shanghai Museum, 'Art and Empire'
    1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.38
    1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.38
    1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.38
    1990 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat no. 7
    1990 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat no. 7

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1907

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    102487

  • Registration number

    1907,0710.1

Limestone wall-relief depicting an Eagle Headed Genii and tree: he wears a kilt with long tassels hanging from it, and a fringed robe, and has two daggers and a whetstone in his belt. The cone in his right hand is described in Assyrian texts as a purifier, and was presumably envisaged as being covered in liquid from the bucket in his left hand. The cone may derive its shape from the male date-spathe, used to fertilise female date-palms.    On the right is half a Sacred Tree, again a symbol of great importance in Assyria. The trunk has a large palmette at its top, and a network of palmettes surrounding it, only half of which are preserved on this piece. Around the trunk are three sets of horizontal binding, each supporting hornlike growths and volutes, and a chevron pattern runs up it.     Part of the standard inscription is preserved above the scene.

Limestone wall-relief depicting an Eagle Headed Genii and tree: he wears a kilt with long tassels hanging from it, and a fringed robe, and has two daggers and a whetstone in his belt. The cone in his right hand is described in Assyrian texts as a purifier, and was presumably envisaged as being covered in liquid from the bucket in his left hand. The cone may derive its shape from the male date-spathe, used to fertilise female date-palms. On the right is half a Sacred Tree, again a symbol of great importance in Assyria. The trunk has a large palmette at its top, and a network of palmettes surrounding it, only half of which are preserved on this piece. Around the trunk are three sets of horizontal binding, each supporting hornlike growths and volutes, and a chevron pattern runs up it. Part of the standard inscription is preserved above the scene.

Image description

Recommend


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: WCO23920

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...