Excavated at south wall of Temple Palace, Tell Halaf, northern Syria
Basalt; H. 22 in. (56 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1943 (43.135.2)
The powerful Neo-Assyrian empire influenced the surrounding region culturally as well as politically. In the west, a number of small but powerful Aramaean city-states acted as a barrier between Assyria and the Mediterranean coast. These have been called Neo-Hittite city-states, although they have little relation to the preceding culture of the Hittites of Anatolia. To put an end to their continuous interference with trade, these rival states were gradually brought under the control of the Neo-Assyrian empire.
At first, the art of these regions continued to reflect its independent origins, but it was quickly influenced by the style and iconography of its powerful neighbor. Stone slabs carved in low relief had traditionally decorated the walls of Neo-Hittite palaces and temples. Workmanship was often strong if crude. The figures were carved with little descriptive detail engraved on the surface, but it is nevertheless possible to detect, in some of the reliefs, the influence of Assyrian art in the choice of scene, the types of chariots and horse gear, and the galloping posture of the horses.