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Lion (Fragment) - Item #6

$ 295.00



14 Inches High x 27 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."

This relief was discovered in the North West Palace in the city of Nimrud (also known as Calah and Kalhu). Some of the most impressive Assyrian artworks are those that show kings hunting lions in an arena which they 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, three horses pull a chariot with two men. The archer is either King Ashurnasirpal II, who ruled from 883 to 859 BCE, or his son and heir, Shalmaneser III, who ruled from 858 to 824 BCE. As was done here, it was common in Assyrian art to depict a fallen enemy beneath the horses of a chariot. This lion has been wounded by three arrows. The relief contains cuneiform inscription.


Artist: Unknown

Museum: British Museum, London

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

Time Period: Neo-Assyrian, 875-860 B.C.E.

1911 Catalog ID # - 2 (fragment)



"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 124579. The British Museum,