- Museum number
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.
- Production date
Height: 141 centimetres
Thickness: 4 centimetres (extant)
Width: 95 centimetres
- Inscription subject
- 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.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
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
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number