The King of Nile. 1.
Relief sculptures from the palace of the Assyrian King Ashrurnasirpal the IInd.
Exhibition of the Relief sculpture: An introduction.
The Relief sculpture of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal IInd was on the display at the LACMA, Los Angeles City metropolitan museum. This relief sculpture was the center of attraction and consisted of many important citations about the past. The information in the inscription is nearly two thousand Two and a half thousand years ago about the Assyrian empire present in the northern Mesopotamia.
The Stone slabs depicted the photographic details of the Assyrian period used as for covering on the interior walls of Royal palaces at that time. They were found from within the desert after twenty-four centuries. A century earlier the palace which consisted of most of the relief of that time period was excavated by Sir Austen Henry Layard at Nimrud, the ancient city of Egypt.
The ruins of an ancient and powerful civilization attracted the poetic and romantic nature Sir Austin Layard. Due to this reason the excavation details were presented to the world in the form of poetry. The poetry consisted of the references about the winged, human headed lions that guarded one of the palace gates.
Relief sculpture descriptions:
The Relief of King Ashurnasirpal IInd is shown posing with his queen in the Royal Garden. The gypsum used is nearly 56cm high. It is estimated to be from the period between 1000 BC to 612 BC. This is one of the few representations of women in the Neo-Assyrian art, the king is seen enjoying the company of his queen in the royal garden.
The King of Nile. 2.
The Relief sculptures revealed the muscled creatures reflecting the hardness of life in the country. On the relief slab, the king Ashurnasirpal IInd wears the royal crown, a conical cap with a small peak, and a long diadem. The king is shown holding a bow, which was a symbol of his authority, and a ceremonial bowl. Facing him is depicted an eunuch, the “beardless one,” carries a fly whisk and a ladle for replenishing the royal vessel. Thus a peaceful and perhaps religious, character of the scene is reflected in the dignified composure of the figures.
A finely carved thrones or couches along with the attendants fan the royal couple with the whisks can also be seen on the sculpture. The couple is seen sipping libations from shallow bowls. Vegetation shown in the sculpture depicts palm trees full of birds, conifer trees, grape vines etc.
Also in this beautiful picture with the nature, a scaring seen is also depicted. Actually it is the head of the King Teumman, which is hanging on the tree at the left. This head reminds the war and defeat of the King Teumman. The Bible also mentions the great and noble Asnappar actually Ashurnasirpal IInd, who is the son of Esarhaddon defeated the king of Elam. Thus the head hanging on the tree is of the King of Elam, who lost the battle of Susa in 655 BC.
The outcome conclusion from the depiction and observations:
Therefore the king is depicted to be in the Royal Park, which planted with the date palms, conifer and shrubs. The king is shown relaxed and has laid aside his weapons, sword, bows, arrows etc. The right hand of king raises goblet to his lips, while the left hand holds the flower. Before him is the table with a lot of food items.
On the other side of the table the Queen is joining in the king. She is in a richly decorated robe sitting on an elegant throne stepping on a footstool. She accompanies the king in drinking. Servants around them bring them food and some even wave fly-Wisk. The background consists of a playing of lyre with eleven strings, because on the left corner there is head hanging from a tree.
Historical background about the king:
Ashurnasirpal IInd was the king of Ancient Assyria. Different historians give different dates of his rule. Some historians states that he ruled between 884 BC to 860 BC While some other historians and bible inscriptions states that this king ruled between 669 BC to 626 BC.
The King of Nile. 3.
King Ashurnasirpal IInd conquered lands around the country and helped in bringing a centralized administration in the country. He gained territory in the Far West in Mediterranean. The king built many palaces and temples at Calah (a city in the Ancient Egypt). The excavations of the temples and palaces revealed the bas-reliefs depicting the king’s conquest in various narrative styles.
The palace rooms at Nimrud were decorated with large stone slabs carved in low relief, with brightly painted walls and ceilings and sculptural figures guarding the doorways of different palaces. The throne room contained narrative scenes commemorating the military victories of Ashurnasirpal IInd, while in other areas of the palace were protective figures and images of the king and his retinue performing ritual acts at different points of time.
Physical and cultural background of that period:
The information depicted in the Relief sculptures recalls the eastern countries as arid and violent, furrowed by riverbeds, which were dry during the summer season and dangerously flooded in the rainy season. The people of Mesopotamia under the empire of Assyrian king were the first to lay the foundations of the material and spiritual culture of the ancient Egypt.
The Mesopotamia people were the early inhabitants of Mesopotamia who in the fourth and the early third millenium BC were responsible for building the canals and dykes. The making of such man made facilities helped in transforming the swamps and desert into a land, which from the description of Herodotus was later known as the granary of the ancient Near East. These people were also responsible for the invention of a form of writing, which was done on the clay tablets.
The Priest and Prince ruled the Assyrian period. They were responsible for distributing foodstuffs and other farm products, which was the main source of income for the large percentage of townspeople. The industries supplied the commodities that were traded for essential raw materials included precious stones, metals, timber etc, which came from the outside.
The society was divided among the agrarian and the mercantile community. This wealth and stability in the civilization attracted many people from the west, north and east. Thus the time for change was coming for the people of this area.
The King of Nile. 4.
Reign of Ashurnasirpal IInd:
A fundamental change took place in the middle of the second millenium when the successive hordes of conquerors swept into Mesopotamia from all sides. It was during this time that the city of Assur mostly used as the northern front at that time came into being at the bank of Tigris.
The country got invaded for the next coming years from many sides resulting in drawing them from their homes to the mountains, desert by the riches in the commercial cities of the plain. After some years of distrust and misrule, the martial spirit gets revived and the new conqueror came into limelight namely Ashurnasirpal IInd. The new king was subjugated as the “King from the East and West” until the areas of Egypt and Near Asia was brought under one flag by the Ashurnasirpal IInd.
During the rule of Ashurnasirpal the cultural sphere remained undifferentiated as peace came back to country after a big interval of time. The Science, art and religion all of them revived and got so entwined and interrelated that it showed way to progress and new discoveries came into being.
The pseudoscientific methods, which had been evolved, for purposes of divination were functionally bound to the widely ramified body of religious beliefs, and art, as much as embryonic science, was the counterpart of mythology, an expression of religious awareness to the common people. All these information united to give man the power that comes with further extension of consciousness.
The reign of Ashurnasirpal IInd gave a stable form of government and safety to the people from outsiders. Not only that many new buildings and inscriptions were made in his time period which depicts the cultural and historical background of that period. The Relief of King Ashurnasirpal IInd gives a whole lot of idea about the war at that time.
Also the flora at that time, which was present in the king’s royal garden is also depicted in the Relief. Along with that the position of the women especially the Royal women who given equal importance and freedom to move around and drinking with the king can also be seen.
The King of Nile. 5.
STEARNS,JOHN B. Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II.
Graz, 1961. VIII,90 pp. 93 plts. Soft cover.
Hannes D. Galter Reviewed work(s): Studies on the Annals of Ashurnasirpal II, 2: Topographical Analysis by Mario Liverani. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 115, No. 1 (Jan. – Mar., 1995), pp. 126-127 (review consists of 2 pages) Published by American oriental society.