- Museum number
Gypsum wall panel relief: depicting a marsh with fighting on two reed boats and Assyrians chasing enemies into rushes. Part of group showing campaigning in southern Iraq.
- Production date
Height: 147.32 centimetres
Width: 119.38 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Forms part of set 1851,0902.22.a-e.
The battle in the marshes depicted in these slabs was almost certainly an incident in the Assyrian campaign of 700-699 B.C. against the Chaldaean tribes in Southern Babylonia. The Chaldaeans have taken refuge, with their women, in the reed thickets, in reed canoes of a shape and construction still in use in Southern Iraq. The Assyrians have taken to the water after them, and the picture on the right develops into the usual two registers showing the procession of captives. This picture of the scene in the marshes is the most complex and ambitious design of all the great pictorial series of the reign.
Layard's description of the wall panels of Room XXVIII (FF):
'On its alabaster panels were sculptured the conquest of some of those tribes which inhabited, from the remotest period, the vast marshes formed by the Euphrates and Tigris in Chaldaea and Babylonia. The swamps of Lemlun are still spread over this low land, and are the place of refuge of a wild and barbarous race of Arabs, not improbably, as I have already observed, the descendants of the very people represented in the bas-reliefs of Kouyunjik.... Unfortunately there were no remains of epigraphs or other inscriptions on the bas-reliefs. ...
In these bas-reliefs the swamps with the jungles of lofty reeds, the narrow passages cut through them like streets, and the shallow stagnant water abounding in fish, were faithfully, though rudely, portrayed. Men and women, seated on rafts, were hiding themselves in the thick brakes, whilst the Assyrian warriors followed the fugitives in light boats of wicker work, probably taken from the enemy, and such as are used to this day by the inhabitants of the same marshes. Some had overtaken and were killing their victims. Others were returning to the banks with captives, and with the heads of the slain. In the water were the bodies of the dead already food for the fishes. The fighting men of the conquered tribes were armed with bows, and wore short tunics; the women had long fringed robes; the hair of both was confined round the temples by a fillet. This dress appears from the sculptures to have been common to all the nations inhabiting the country watered by the lower part of the Euphrates and Tigris'. (Layard, 1853a, pp. 442-3)
- On display (G9)
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number