REVIEW

Photo Essay: British Museum Part 3: The Assyrian Exhibit

April 19, 2010
Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta

The Assyrians were, for a very long period of time, the big cheeses of the Middle East. Based around Iraq, their rule at one time extended into Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Northern Saudi Arabia, Levant, Israel, Sinai, Egypt into Nubia. Pretty large for that time, I must admit. They made some expansive sculptures and statues, the British Museum has some excellent collections of statuary, sculpture and tomb carvings.

Assyria,British Museum,London

This is a gallery showing carved stone panels from the Palace of King Sennacherib (704-681 BC) at Nineveh, Iraq. Very long gallery, they show transportation of sculptures, hunting scenes, military battles, etc.

Assyria,British Museum,London Assyria,British Museum,London

Then we have these two colossal statues of winged human headed lions which were placed either side of the main entrance to the royal palace of King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC). They look pretty imposing, eh? Check out the beards, curled to an inch of their lives. Very imposing. And after lots of research and poking around, turns out that the reason for these chaps to curl their beards was as a identification mark, to distinguish themselves from their neighbours as the Egyptians, the Israelites, etc didn't do the beard thing at all. The photograph on the right shows that the rest of the sculpture is covered with cuneiform writing about the king and his deeds.

Assyria,British Museum,London

This is a free standing stela of Shamshi Adad V (823-811 BC) from Nimrud. It shows the king worshipping the various gods. The inscriptions around his dress talk about his military campaigns.


Assyria,British Museum,London

This is a black obelisk of Shalmaneser III which records his military campaigns and the tribute he got from Iran, Israel, Turkey and Iraq.


Assyria,British Museum,London Assyria,British Museum,London

He got some Indian elephants as well as the panel on the left shows, while on the right you can see some antelopes. Nice way of keeping your accounts.

Assyria,British Museum,London Assyria,British Museum,London

Two more panels which would be placed either side of a doorway, with a winged spirit or human figure usually carrying a magic cone and bucket. These would ward off evil, guard the king and inhabitants. The Assyrian Exhibit is ok, fairly interesting but then, after coming from the Egyptian Exhibit, its not really that impressive. The full slide show is here. The next part relates to just one statue, that too tiny but of great import.

 

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta works in the city of London in various capacities in the financial sector. He has worked and travelled widely around the world. The articles in here relate to his current studies and are strictly his opinion and do not reflect the position of his past or current employer(s). If you do want to blame somebody, then blame my sister and editor, she is responsible for everything, the ideas, the writing, the quotes, the drive, the israeli-palestinian crisis, global warming, the ozone layer depletion and the argentinian debt crisis.
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Photo Essay: British Museum Part 3: The Assyrian Exhibit

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Author: Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta

 

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