My Cart


Dying Lioness - Item #4

$ 440.00



20 Inches High x 33 Inches Wide x 3 Inches Deep

The Kingdom of Assyria was located in the valley of the River Tigris in modern-day northern Iraq. The Assyrian king was also the high priest of the god Ashur. From the ninth to seventh centuries BCE, Assyrian artists carved figures from lines. The bodies of the figures were depicted frontally while the heads were shown in profile. As curator Paul Collins of the British Museum said, “no individual in the reliefs ever looks out at the viewer, they exist in a self-contained world in which the action unfolds."

King Ashurbanipal, who ruled from 668 to circa 631 BCE, ordered a new palace be built on the citadel at Nineveh about 30 years into his nearly 40-year rule. Now referred to as the North Palace, its reliefs are superior to those at his former Southwest Palace. The most impressive carvings are those that show him hunting lions in an arena which he did in reality. Lions were regarded as the most dangerous animals in Assyria, and depicting a royal hunt relayed the king’s strength and right to rule. As Collins said, the animals “collapse in agony at the hands of the Assyrian king who, through the support of the gods and his skill with weapons, brings civilization to the chaotic and disordered world that the animals represent.” In the relief from which this fragment comes, King Ashurbanipal uses his spear to strike a lion attacking his chariot while several other lions lay dead or dying, including this lioness.


Artist: Unknown

Museum: British Museum, London

Origin: North Palace, Nineveh, Assyria (modern-day Iraq)

Time Period: Neo-Assyrian, 645-635 B.C.E.

1911 Catalog ID # - 1



"Assyria (Room 10)." The British Museum, room_10_assyria_lion_hunts.aspx.

Collins, Paul. "Introduction" and "The Art of Ashurbanipal." Assyrian Palace Sculptures. The Trustees of the British Museum/British Museum Press, 2008, pp. 8-27, 97-141.

"Wall Panel/Relief." Museum number 124856. The British Museum,