Statuette of a man 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)
Rogers Fund, 1960
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 400
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.
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.
“In the Presence of Kings,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 8–September 4, 1967.
“Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries: The Metropolitan Museum of Art,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 14, 1970–June 1, 1971.
“Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 15, 2014–January 4, 2015.
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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. 1967. In the Presence of Kings: Royal Treasures from the Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 6.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1970. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries, exh. cat. New York: Dutton, no. 52, p. 108.
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Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, p. 37, figure 48.
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Time-Life Books. 1987. Barbarian Tides: TimeFrame 1500-600 B.C. New York: Time-Life Books, p. 17.
Drake, St. Clair. 1987. Black Folk Here and There: An Essay in History and Anthropology I. Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California, pl. 25.
Herrmann, Georgina. 1992. Ivories from Nimrud (1949-1963): The Small Collection from Fort Shalmaneser, Fasc. V, no. 300, p. 99, pl. 58.
Rakic, Yelena ed. 2010. Discovering the Art of the Ancient Near East: Archaeological Excavations Supported by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931–2010. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (1), Summer 2010, p. 9.
Benzel, Kim, Sarah B. Graff, Yelena Rakic, and Edith W. Watts. 2010. Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, image 21, pp. 92-93.
Aruz, Joan, with Jean-Franҫois de Lapérouse. 2014. “Nimrud Ivories.” In Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age, exh. cat. edited by Joan Aruz, Sarah B. Graff, and Yelena Rakic. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, fig. 3.35, pp.146-148.