Plaque in the form of a tree
- ca. 9th–8th century B.C.
- Mesopotamia, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)
- 1.85 x 0.14 in. (4.7 x 0.36 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Rogers Fund, 1958
- Accession Number:
This delicate plaque is finely incised with the image of a stylized tree. The trunk is made up of hatched sections connected by volutes, topped by a fan-shaped group of nine branches, each ending in an element that resembles a bunch of fruit or a pinecone. The plaque is broken in several areas, but a fragment of an additional branch is preserved extending from the right side. Stylized trees similar to this one, widely known today as "sacred trees," are represented frequently on the monumental stone reliefs that decorated the walls of the palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, also in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection (see, for example, 32.143.X). This small object was probably used as a decorative inlay for a piece of furniture or luxury object. Images of flourishing plant life seem to have evoked concepts of abundance and fruitfulness connected with the agricultural cycle, although we do not know whether the Assyrian "sacred tree" had other specific significance.