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Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II

A Cultural Biography

The well-known narrative images of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.E.) at war and at the hunt are discussed frequently in studies of ancient Near Eastern art. By comparison, the iconic reliefs depicting the ruler, his genies, and the “sacred tree,” which are repeated over and over within the decorative scheme of Ashurnasirpal’s palace in Nimrud, part of modern-day Iraq, are less studied and imperfectly understood by scholars. This volume of collected essays on the reliefs at Dartmouth College and related works in other museums across the United States and in international institutions sheds new light on their meanings, importance, and history. Following the discovery of the reliefs in the nineteenth century, institutions and individuals in Europe and North America competed to acquire them. The greatest number went into European collections in the countries of their discoverers, but “surplus” relief fragments, usually of supernatural figures and trees, were shipped to America, and many found their way to colleges and universities. The essays in this volume explore the iconography of the reliefs, the fascinating story of their discovery and dispersal throughout the West, their biblical connections, and their cultural, artistic, and historical meanings. The book takes the reader from the ancient world of Assyria to its modern rediscovery to the digital reconstruction of the Nimrud palace. Lavishly illustrated with over 115 color and 35 black-and-white images, Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II will engage and inform the student, the scholar, as well as the museum visitor.

294 pages | 8 x 10

Art: Art--General Studies

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations • Foreword • Preface • "Our Nineveh Enterprise" – Ada Cohen and Steven E. Kangas • PLATES • The Early Exploration of Assyria – Julian Reade • Archaeology and Politics in Iraq • From the British Mandate to Saddam Hussein – James F. Goode • Assyria in the Bible – Susan Ackerman • Decorations, Political Posters, Time Capsules, and Living Gods • The Meaning and Function of the Assyrian Palace Carvings in the Hood Museum of Art – Barbara N. Porter • "Time and Eternity" in the Northwest Palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud – Mehmet-Ali Ataç • Attending the King in the Assyrian Reliefs – Paul Collins • Banquets, Baubles, and Bronzes • Material Comforts in the Neo-Assyrian Palaces – Allison Karmel Thomason • The Northwest Palace in the Digital Age – Samuel M. Paley with the collaboration of Donald H. Sanders • Notes • References • List of Contributors • Index     

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