- Museum number
Gypsum wall panel depicting a royal bull hunt in relief: the royal chariot is showing rushing to the right across a fallen bull. The warrior in the chariot is king Ashurnasirpal II himself, wearing the distinctive royal hat. Here, instead of shooting forwards, he has turned to deal with another bull that has charged the chariot from behind. The king grasps it by the horn, whilse driving his sword into its neck. The bull lies on the ground and the king rests his bow while pouring a triumphant libation of wine. On the left are two royal bodyguards with maces; another attendant holds a fan and another a sunshade. All are beardless eunuchs. The king wears an embroidered robe, crown, rosette wristlets, armlets, a necklace and a sword-sheath. An officer, presumably the next king Shalmaneser, faces the king; he is dressed much like the king. Behind him is the chief eunuch with a special headband and to the right a pair of musicians play harps.
Behind the king rides an armed horseman, leading a mount for the king. This horseman has a rounded shield on his back, and one of his duties would have been to use it to protect the king. The royal horse has a saddlecloth woven with a kind of geometric pattern which is still widely seen in the Middle East today. Traces of such incised details, sometimes much more elaborate, can often be seen on clothes and other textiles in the Assyrian sculptures.
There are traces of the standard inscription at the bottom of the slab.
- Production date
Height: 93 centimetres
Thickness: 10 centimetres (extant)
Width: 225 centimetres
- Inscription subject
- Curator's comments
This slab is the upper part of a panel that stood on the wall close to the royal throne, and perhaps represented an exploit of which the king was particularly proud.
In set with BM.124533.
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 Bas-Reliefs".
- Bibliographic references
Curtis & Reade 1994a / Tesoros de asiria en el Museo Britanico: Arte e Imperio (7)
Curtis & Reade 1995a / Art and empire: treasures from Assyria in the British Museum (6)
Budge 1914 / Assyrian Sculptures in the British Museum, Reign of Ashur-nasir-pal, 885-890 B.C (pl. XII.1)
Layard A H 1849b / Nineveh and its Remains (vol. 1, p. 129)
Layard A H 1849a / The monuments of Nineveh, from drawings made on the spot (vol. I, 11)
Meuszynski 1981 / Die Rekonstruktion der Reliefdarstellungen und ihrer Anordnung im Nordwestpalast von Kalhu (Nimrūd) (3 vols.) (pl. 11)
Gadd 1936b / The Stones of Assyria: the surviving remains of Assyrian sculpture, their recovery, and their original positions (p.132)
Grayson, RIMA 2 / Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC, I (1114-859 BC) (RIM.A.0.101.23.28)
Curtis & Tallis 2012 / The Horse from Arabia to Ascot (32)
British Museum 2011a / Splendours of Mesopotamia (pp.106-107, cat.70)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012 24 May - 30 Sep, London, BM, 'The horse: from Arabia to Royal Ascot'
2011 28 March-26 June, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Splendours of Mesopotamia'
2008-2009 21 Sept-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'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Found by Layard about May 1846. Reached Basra August 1846; sent to Bombay in local craft; shipped to England on the 'Grecian' in May 1847.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: NG.3a (ex Nimrud Gallery)