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wall panel / relief

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    118931

  • Description

    Gypsum wall panel relief: Assyrian soldiers move ⇨ carrying four statues of gods. Each image is carried by two pairs of soldiers who hold it on their shoulders by means of broad boards or poles. The first two statues represent goddesses sitting on high chairs, wearing long ornamented garments and holding a ring in their left hands. Of the third statue, which stands in a kind of box, only the front of the body, including the left hand holding a ring, is visible. The last statue is that of a god, apparently a weather-god, wearing a richly ornamented tunic and holding an axe in his right hand, a trident in his left. He has a long beard and on his head four horn-like projections, a unique feature. Forms part of an attack scene on enemy town by army of Tiglath-Pileser III, perhaps in Syria. The panel bears an inscription.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 728BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 272 centimetres
    • Width: 254 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        cuneiform
      • Inscription Comment

        Describes resettlement of prisoners after Assyrian campaign of 745BC.

        The inscription on this slab was recorded by Layard, 'Inscriptions in the Cuneiform Character', pl.52 (=Rost, 'Die Keilschrifttexte Tiglat-Pilesers III', pls.XI-XII); it deals with Tiglath-pileser III's victories in Babylonia during his first palû. S. Smith, 'Assyrian Sculptures in the British Museum from Shalmaneser III to Sennacherib', p.9, referring to the inscription, suggests that the statues represent the gods of Babylonia whose riḫâtê Tiglath-pileser III received ('Annals', ls. 6-7). This is unlikely, for the texts seem usually to refer to the slabs on which they stand, but the two lines describing this, in fact, are not on our slab.
  • Curator's comments

    Attached to 1884,0726.1 (BM.118934)

  • Bibliography

    • Unger 1917 no. 21 (drawing) bibliographic details
    • Gadd 1936b p.158 bibliographic details
    • Barnett & Falkner 1962 p.29, pls. LXXXVIII & XCIII bibliographic details
    • Layard A H 1851a pl. 52 (inscription) bibliographic details
    • Rost 1893b pls. XI-XII (inscription) bibliographic details
    • Layard A H 1849a vol. 1, pl. 65 (drawing) bibliographic details
    • Layard A H 1849b vol. 2, p.451 (drawing) bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G8

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1856

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    118931

  • Registration number

    1856,0909.212

Alabaster wall panel; relief; attack on enemy town by army of Tiglath-Pileser III, perhaps in Syria; inscription.  Alabaster wall panel; relief: in the upper register a city, depicted in plan and in a series of three elevations, is attacked by the Assyrians. Of the three elevations, the uppermost, at the top of the slab, is now completely effaced. The middle one recedes from the lower on the left-hand side, but coincides on the right, a fact which precludes the interpretation as an upper storey, or even as a middle line of defence. The two walls might, in this kind of representation, be the two walls, of different length, meeting at the corner represented in plan; but this leaves the third wall unexplained. Apparently only women remain in this middle section of the defence, ready to surrender. In the lowest elevation archers are seen in embrasures, fighting behind a parapet which also serves as the outline of the plan of the city. In other embrasures there are round-topped objects which may represent doors, for inside the city plan, in the centre, two Assyrian soldiers, defending their heads with shields, cut through such an object with daggers, while on the left four others carry away the booty already seized, a couch and two sacks of goods. To the right lie enemy dead, and an Assyrian soldier is driving an ox away. The plan is used for yet another type of picture; two auxiliaries, wearing crested helmets and crossed bands, have advanced from behind a palisade to force a breach at the corner of the city wall, and are attacking the brickwork, represented in plan, with their lances, while defending themselves with their shields. The mixture of elevation and plan in this scene, though characteristic, is unusual in Assyrian work by reason of its complexity.    The inscription on the centre band gives 12 fines of one column, the commencement broken, and the beginnings of 11 lines of a second.    In the lower register a procession of Assyrian soldiers carries away statues of the gods.It is very doubtful whether the head of the first deity was turned full-face, and the head-dress has completely disappeared. The honourable treatment accorded these gods and the types represented show that these were deities recognized by the Assyrians; the first two are forms of Ishtar, the fourth is the weather god, whether his name be Adad or some other form. It is not impossible that the scenes in both registers depict incidents in the campaign against the Chaldaeans to which the text on the centre band refers. It may be that the lower scene shows statues of Babylonian gods returned to their own cities by the Assyrians.

Group of Objects

Alabaster wall panel; relief; attack on enemy town by army of Tiglath-Pileser III, perhaps in Syria; inscription. Alabaster wall panel; relief: in the upper register a city, depicted in plan and in a series of three elevations, is attacked by the Assyrians. Of the three elevations, the uppermost, at the top of the slab, is now completely effaced. The middle one recedes from the lower on the left-hand side, but coincides on the right, a fact which precludes the interpretation as an upper storey, or even as a middle line of defence. The two walls might, in this kind of representation, be the two walls, of different length, meeting at the corner represented in plan; but this leaves the third wall unexplained. Apparently only women remain in this middle section of the defence, ready to surrender. In the lowest elevation archers are seen in embrasures, fighting behind a parapet which also serves as the outline of the plan of the city. In other embrasures there are round-topped objects which may represent doors, for inside the city plan, in the centre, two Assyrian soldiers, defending their heads with shields, cut through such an object with daggers, while on the left four others carry away the booty already seized, a couch and two sacks of goods. To the right lie enemy dead, and an Assyrian soldier is driving an ox away. The plan is used for yet another type of picture; two auxiliaries, wearing crested helmets and crossed bands, have advanced from behind a palisade to force a breach at the corner of the city wall, and are attacking the brickwork, represented in plan, with their lances, while defending themselves with their shields. The mixture of elevation and plan in this scene, though characteristic, is unusual in Assyrian work by reason of its complexity. The inscription on the centre band gives 12 fines of one column, the commencement broken, and the beginnings of 11 lines of a second. In the lower register a procession of Assyrian soldiers carries away statues of the gods.It is very doubtful whether the head of the first deity was turned full-face, and the head-dress has completely disappeared. The honourable treatment accorded these gods and the types represented show that these were deities recognized by the Assyrians; the first two are forms of Ishtar, the fourth is the weather god, whether his name be Adad or some other form. It is not impossible that the scenes in both registers depict incidents in the campaign against the Chaldaeans to which the text on the centre band refers. It may be that the lower scene shows statues of Babylonian gods returned to their own cities by the Assyrians.

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Object reference number: WCO26596

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