- Museum number
Gypsum wall panel: this piece shows the Assyrian army attacking an enemy fortress. The fortress stands on a rise, perhaps an ancient mound. Inside the walls is a pulley with two ropes hanging from it. Though there is no visible link between the pulley and the bucket below, it is clear that the Assyrian soldier in the foreground has cut the rope with which someone inside the fortress has been trying to collect water from a source outside the walls. This soldier must be the same as the one on the left of the panel, who holds a bucket in his left hand and lifts his right arm in a gesture of triumphant greeting towards someone, presumably an officer or the king himself, who appeared with the main Assyrian force on panels further to the left. The central figure, with both arms raised, is holding a shield over his head as a protection against enemy shots. Meanwhile an enemy soldier on a tower is shooting an arrow at the Assyraians to the left; he is wearing a headband, but this item of dress is not sufficient to identify the location of the scene; it may have been somewhere in Syria. The architecture of the fortress, with lines of rosettes below and crenellations and pairs of windows in the towers, suggests a place of some distinction.
The scale of the defender, unnaturally large in relation ot the tower on which he is stationed is typical of ninth-century art.
There are traces of the standard inscription at the top of the panel.
- Production date
Height: 104 centimetres
Thickness: 19 centimetres (extant)
Width: 93 centimetres
- Inscription subject
- Curator's comments
- This piece is from a series of wall-panels which showed the Assyrian army attacking an ememy fortress. The general composition to which this panel must have belonged is typical of ninth-century art, with the attacking Assyrians on one side and the people attacked on the other. Within a single composition, however, it is unusual at this date to show a single person more than once in consecutive moments, as in a strip-cartoon.
A. H. Layard, ‘Nineveh and its Remains’ vol. II (London, 1849), 31-32;
R. D. Barnett & M. Falkner, ‘The Sculptures of Tiglath-pileser III’ (London, 1962), 25, pls. CXXII-CXXIII.
- Bibliographic references
Layard A H 1849b / Nineveh and its Remains (vol. 2, pp.31-32)
Gadd 1936b / The Stones of Assyria: the surviving remains of Assyrian sculpture, their recovery, and their original positions (p.144)
Laessøë 1953 / Reflections on Modern and Ancient Oriental Water Works (pp.2-4, 6, fig. 1)
Barnett & Falkner 1962 / The Sculptures of Ashur-nasir-apli II (883-859 B.C), Tiglath-pilesar (745-727 B.C), Esarhaddon (681-669 B.C) from the Central and South-West Palaces at Nimrud (p.25)
Curtis & Reade 1994a / Tesoros de asiria en el Museo Britanico: Arte e Imperio (3)
Curtis & Reade 1995a / Art and empire: treasures from Assyria in the British Museum (3)
Grayson, RIMA 2 / Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC, I (1114-859 BC) (RIM.A.0.101.23.24)
British Museum 2011a / Splendours of Mesopotamia (pp.100-101, cat.67)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
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'
2008-2009 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
- Carried by ship Fortitude
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Ex.NCS. 65 (Old no?)