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Assyrian Relief: Ashurnasirpal with Attendants Celebrating a Hunt from Kalhu (Nimrud), Iraq; Northwest Palace, West Wing, panel 16
ca. 875 BCE - 860 BCE
9th century BCE
35 7/8 in. x 28 7/8 in. x 6 1/2 in. (91.2 cm. x 73.3 cm. x 16.5 cm.)
Ancient Near East, Assyrian
Medium and Support
gypsum (Mosul alabaster)
Gift of Dr. Henri Byron Haskell, Medical School Class of 1855. Critical support for the Assyrian Collection at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art is provided by the Yadgar Family Endowment.
This fragment shows Ashurnasirpal and his attendants pouring a libation to the gods in thanks for a successful hunt. The king holds a bow in his left hand and a libation dish in his right, followed by two beardless attendants who are likely eunuchs. One attendant holds a parasol to shade the king, while the other carries a bow and quiver. All three figures are equipped with wide belts with rings that attached to the hunting chariot and aprons that protected the hunters against chafing. The arm that extends into the scene from the right holds a flywhisk and would have belonged to another attendant.
The scene probably formed part of a larger hunting narrative arranged in superimposed rows, or registers. Adjacent panels from the same room show scenes of the king hunting lions and wild bulls. The missing lower register may have depicted the body of the king’s quarry, one of these fearsome creatures. The cuneiform text at the base of the fragment indicates that this relief was positioned high up on a wall, given that the text, as seen in other reliefs in this gallery, ran through the center of the decorative elements.
Critical support for the Assyrian Collection at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art is provided by the Yadgar Family Endowment.