Gallery 401 - The Assyrian Royal Court
Part of Ancient Near Eastern Art
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The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery for Assyrian Art has been arranged to evoke the main audience hall of the ninth-century B.C. Assyrian palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud in northern Mesopotamia.
The reliefs that line the walls come from various rooms in the palace, and were excavated during the mid-nineteenth century in one of the earliest archaeological expeditions to the Near East. Guarded by a colossal winged, human-headed lion and bull, wearing the horns of divinity, the reliefs depict the king performing a ritual, surrounded by attendants and supernatural creatures facing stylized trees. The famous Standard Inscription of Ashurnasirpal, which records his achievements, runs across each relief panel. It is written in cuneiform, the script used for the Akkadian language then in wide usage throughout the Near East.