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The Rassam Obelisk

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Rassam Obelisk
  • Description

    Basalt obelisk now known as the 'Rassam' obelisk; erected by Ashurnasirpal II (883BC-859BC); carved low relief; broken in antiquity; present reconstruction is provisional; was a public monument; shows deputations from Syria and the west bringing tribute to the Assyrian king; fragmentary cuneiform inscription.


  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 873BC-859BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 148 centimetres
    • Width: 79 centimetres
    • Depth: 46 centimetres
    • Height: 183 centimetres (With display base)
    • Width: 94 centimetres (With display base)
    • Depth: 72 centimetres (With display base)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Translation


        A1-3: ... I overthrew. With the help of Shamash and [Adad, the gods who support me, agai]nst the t[roops of the lands of] Nairi, Habhu, Shubaru and [Nirib, like Adad the devastat]or, I thundered; the king who, from bey[ond the Tigris as far as Mount Leba]non ...
        B1-3: and [...] the to[wn ... m]y land [...]


        1: Tribute of [blank]
        2: [...] horses, a table [...]
        3: [... linen] garments with multicoloured trim, female singers, the son [... I receive]d.
        4: [Tribute o]f [...:] silver, gold, [tin, copper, a] tub of br[onze, cauldro]ns of bronze, de[corat]ed beds, [linen] garments [with multi-coloured trim I receive]d.
        5: [Tribute of ...: silver, gol]d, t[in], copper, [iro]n, a tub of b[ronze, ...]s of bro[nze, ...]s, of bro[nze, ... I receive]d.
        6: Trib[ute of ...:] silver, gold, ti[n, c]opper, tubs of bronze, [...] of bro[nze, ...]s, [linen garm]ents with multicoloured trim [I receive]d.
        7: A herd of town-bred elephants, a herd of town-b[red] wild oxen, a herd of [... I receive]d.
        8: [...]
      • Inscription Comment

        fragmentary inscription on the apex with original captions to scenes; breaks and reconstruction indicated by [...]; preliminary transliteration, translation and notes by C.B.F. Walker published by Reade (1980), pp. 17-19.
  • Curator's comments

    See also BM.132013 See also BM.90925 See also BM.136897-136898.
    A previous reconstruction, no42 in Nimrud Gallery, included BM.136897 - 136901 and BM.136903.

  • Bibliography

    • Reade 1980a bibliographic details
    • Grayson, RIMA 2 RIM.A.0.101.24 bibliographic details
    • Grayson, RIMA 2 RIM.A.0.101.71-78 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    G89/Assyrian Basement.

    Nimrud Gallery, no. 42

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1853; registered 1856.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: The Rassam Obelisk


COMPASS Title: The Rassam Obelisk

Image description



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Object reference number: WCO26817

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