Furniture plaque: incised griffin

Old Assyrian Trading Colony

Not on view

This fragment belongs to a group of carved ivories, mostly furniture elements, probably found at the site of a palace at Acemhöyük in central Anatolia. Incised on the small flat piece of ivory is a delicate rendering of a griffin, a mythological creature that combines the body of a lion with the wings and head of a bird of prey. The small hooked beak and facial markings indicate that this griffin has the head of a falcon. Its slender leonine body is seated with front legs extended and wings fully extended, giving the impression that the creature is poised to spring into action. Griffins of this type, with a spiral curl hanging down the neck and extended wings, are characteristic of Aegean art in later periods, such as the famous Minoan wall painting from the palace at Knossos on Crete that shows griffins flanking the royal throne. This object is the earliest known rendering of this type of griffin, suggesting that the motif was adopted by Minoan artisans after contacts with Bronze Age Anatolia.

Furniture plaque: incised griffin, Ivory, Old Assyrian Trading Colony

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.