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The Balawat Gates

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    124661

  • Title (series)

    • The Balawat Gates
  • Description

    Bronze band (one of 16 originally) from the palace gates of Shalmaneser III; from right door-leaf; ‎decorated in a double register with an embossed and engraved figurative scene above and below ‎which are borders within which are decorative rosettes which framed the dome-headed nails that held ‎the band to the door-leaf; this band shows the king receiving tribute from Tyre and Sidon and the ‎capture of the town of Hazazu in Syria.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 848BC (about)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 27 centimetres
    • Width: 180 centimetres
    • Thickness: 0.1 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Comment

        Grayson 1996: A.0.102.66-7
  • Curator's comments

    Bibliography:
    L. W. King, ‘Bronze Reliefs from the Gates of Shalmaneser’, (London, 1915), 23, pls. XIII-XVIII.BM SHAL III R3

  • Bibliography

    • Curtis & Reade 1995a 43 bibliographic details
    • Curtis & Reade 1994a 43 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G6b

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    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'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1878

  • Acquisition notes

    Some fragments purchased via the Paris dealer Hoffmann in 1879

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    124661

  • Registration number

    Rm.1041

Bronze door decoration: the upper register shows Shalmaneser III, in the first full year of his reign, receiving tribute from the cities of Tyre and Sidon. The Phoenicians in their pointed caps enter from the left, ferrying goods across from their island fortress to the mainland, in boats with animal-headed prows. The man and woman staying on the island are probably the Phoenician king and queen.  The goods consist of bales,  cauldrons and trays of jewellery. They are received by an Assyrian eunuch, who waves back to introduce them into the presence of the Assyrian king. He has entered from the right,  and raises arrows in his hand in token of conquest; his robe rides up over his scabbard. Shalmaneser is accompanied by courtiers and attendants, and his royal chariot and mount wait behind him. They are followed by other chariots, including two with the sacred standards which accompanied Assyrian kings on campaign. The fortified rectangular Assyrian camp appears at the far right, with a royal tent or kiosk in one corner. The lower right-hand corner has been cut away during the attachment of the bronze band to the door-post.    In the lower register the Assyrians are attacking from the right. They slaughter the enemy, and scale the walls of the town of Hazazu, in Syria, which is then set on fire.  The prisoners - women, children, and naked bound men - are escorted left into the presence of the Assyrian king, who has his usual entourage of courtiers, attendants and sacred chariots. At the far left is a circular Assyrian camp.

Bronze door decoration: the upper register shows Shalmaneser III, in the first full year of his reign, receiving tribute from the cities of Tyre and Sidon. The Phoenicians in their pointed caps enter from the left, ferrying goods across from their island fortress to the mainland, in boats with animal-headed prows. The man and woman staying on the island are probably the Phoenician king and queen. The goods consist of bales, cauldrons and trays of jewellery. They are received by an Assyrian eunuch, who waves back to introduce them into the presence of the Assyrian king. He has entered from the right, and raises arrows in his hand in token of conquest; his robe rides up over his scabbard. Shalmaneser is accompanied by courtiers and attendants, and his royal chariot and mount wait behind him. They are followed by other chariots, including two with the sacred standards which accompanied Assyrian kings on campaign. The fortified rectangular Assyrian camp appears at the far right, with a royal tent or kiosk in one corner. The lower right-hand corner has been cut away during the attachment of the bronze band to the door-post. In the lower register the Assyrians are attacking from the right. They slaughter the enemy, and scale the walls of the town of Hazazu, in Syria, which is then set on fire. The prisoners - women, children, and naked bound men - are escorted left into the presence of the Assyrian king, who has his usual entourage of courtiers, attendants and sacred chariots. At the far left is a circular Assyrian camp.

Image description

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Object reference number: WCO23954

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