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Furniture fragment with the "woman at the window"

Period:
Neo-Assyrian
Date:
ca. 9th–8th century B.C.
Geography:
Syria, probably from Arslan Tash (ancient Hadatu)
Culture:
Assyrian
Medium:
Ivory, glass
Dimensions:
H. 2 1/2 x W. 1 3/4 x Th. 1/2 in. (6.4 x 4.5 x 1.2 cm)
Classification:
Ivory/Bone-Reliefs
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1957
Accession Number:
57.80.12
  • Description

    A group of ivories that once decorated ancient furniture was said to have been found at Arslan Tash (ancient Hadatu), a Neo-Assyrian military outpost on the Euphrates River. A large eighth-century B.C. building was subsequently excavated there. The ivories are similar to those found at Nimrud in the Assyrian heartland in northern Mesopotamia, some of which were brought there as tribute or booty.

    This particular example is carved in Phoenician style, which borrows motifs from Egyptian art and often includes glass inlays like the one on the window here. The motif of a female face peering out of a window is a common one and often has a decorative balustrade or railing composed of Proto-Aeolic colonettes with volute capitals—a type known from monumental architecture in the Levant. The figure wears an Egyptian-style wig and an elaborate ornament with pendants in her hair above her forehead. An actual example of this type of jewelry, made of gold and inlaid with precious stones, was found buried with a royal female figure of the Assyrian court at Nimrud.

  • Provenance

    Acquired by the Museum in 1957, purchased from Elie Borowski, New York.

  • Exhibition History

    "La Méditerranée des Phéniciens de Tyr à Carthage," Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, November 6, 2007–April 20 2008.

  • References

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1957. "Additions to the Collections." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (2), Eighty-Seventh Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1956-1957 (Oct., 1957), p. 67.

    Caubet, Annie. 2007. "L'âge de l'ivoire." In La Méditerranée des Phéniciens de Tyr à Carthage, exh. cat. edited by Elisabeth Fontan and Hélène Le Meaux. Paris: Somogy and Institut du Monde Arabe, no. 311, pp. 16, 212, 377.

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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