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Tribute bearer with an oryx, a monkey, and a leopard skin

ca. 8th century B.C.
Mesopotamia, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)
H. 5 5/16 x W. 3in. (13.5 x 7.6cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1960
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Phoenician ivory carvers were strongly influenced by the themes and style of Egyptian art owing to traditionally close ties between the two cultures. Some Phoenician ivories illustrate purely Egyptian themes, but many use Egyptian motifs in entirely original compositions.

    Phoenician-style ivories were used primarily as furniture decoration. Some are solid plaques, while others are carved on one or both sides in a delicate openwork technique. Many originally were covered by gold leaf and inlaid with semiprecious stones or colored glass. Such rich combinations of ivory, gold, and brightly colored stones made the thrones of the Assyrian kings famous for their exquisite beauty. Most ivories carved in the Phoenician style were probably produced during the late eighth and seventh centuries B.C.

    This Nubian tribute bearer exhibits traits of the Phoenician style, characterized by the slender, elongated form of the bearer and his animal gifts, the precision of carving and intricacy of detail, and the distinct Egyptian flavor of both pose and feature.

  • Provenance

    1960, excavated by Max Mallowan, on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; ceded in the division of finds to the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; acquired by the Museum in 1960, as a result of its financial contribution to the excavations.

  • Exhibition History

    "In the Presence of Kings," The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 8–September 4, 1967.

  • References

    Oates, David. 1961. "The Excavations at Nimrud (Kalhu), 1960." Iraq 23 (1), pp. 12-13.

    Crawford, Vaughn E. 1965. "Some Notes from an Excavation." Apollo LXXXII, No. 43 (September 1965), p. 217, fig. 12.

    Mallowan, M.E.L. 1966. Nimrud and its Remains, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, vol. II, p. 528 ff, fig. 446.

    Crawford, Vaughn E. et al. 1966. Guide to the Ancient Near East Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 21, fig. 33.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1970. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries, exh. cat. New York: Dutton, no. 52, p. 108.

    Hibbard, Howard. 1980. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Harper and Row, fig. 121, p. 56.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1983. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, edited by Kathleen Howard. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 56, fig. 25.

    Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, p. 37, figure 48.

    Saggs, Henry W.F. 1984. The Might that was Assyria. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, pl. 20B.

    Herrmann, Georgina. 1992. Ivories from Nimrud (1949-1963): The Small Collection from Fort Shalmaneser, Fasc. V, no. 300, p. 99, pl. 58.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History