Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Furniture plaque carved in high relief with two Egyptianizing figures flanking a volute tree

Period:
Neo-Assyrian
Date:
ca. 9th–8th century B.C.
Geography:
Mesopotamia, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)
Culture:
Assyrian
Medium:
Ivory
Dimensions:
H. 4 7/8 x W. 3 1/16 x Th. 7/16 in. (12.4 x 7.7 x 1.1 cm)
Classification:
Ivory/Bone-Reliefs-Inscribed
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1962
Accession Number:
62.269.3
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 404
During the ninth to seventh centuries B.C., vast quantities of luxury goods, often embellished with carved ivory in local, Syrian, and Phoenician styles, accumulated in Assyrian palaces, much of it as booty or tribute. This plaque, once part of a piece of furniture, is carved in high relief in a typical Phoenician style with Egyptian themes and motifs. Two pharaoh-like figures, standing on either side of a branching tree, wear a version of the double crown of Egypt with the rearing cobra, or uraeus, emblem in front. They also wear a beard, necklace, and pleated short skirt belted at the waist with a central panel decorated with a chevron pattern and uraeus on either side. An ankle-length pleated apron with patterned border falls from behind the figures. Each man holds a ram-headed scepter in his right hand while the figure at left holds a ewer in his left hand; it is unclear what the other man holds. Framed above the scene is a winged sun disk surmounted by a horizontal panel with ten uraei supporting sun disks.
1962, 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 1962, as a result of its financial contribution to the excavations.

“Origin and Influence, Cultural Contacts: Egypt, the Ancient Near East and the Classical World,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, December 18, 1970–April 23, 1971.

"La Méditerranée des Phéniciens de Tyr à Carthage," Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, November 6, 2007–April 20 2008.

"Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 22, 2014–January 4, 2015.

Millard, A.B. 1962. "Alphabetic Inscriptions of Ivories from Nimrud." Iraq 24, p. 46.

Winter, Irene. 1976. "Phoenician and North Syrian Ivory Carving in Historical Context: Question of Style and Distribution." Iraq 38 (1), pp. 3, 6, pl. IA.

Caubet, Annie. 2007. "L'âge de l'Ivoire." In La Méditerranée des Phéniciens de Tyr à Carthage, exh. cat. edited by Elisabeth Fontan and Hélène Le Meaux. Paris: Somogy and Institut du Monde Arabe, no. 294, pp. 209, 211, 373.

Herrmann, Georgina and Stuart Laidlaw. 2013. Ivories from Rooms SW11/12 and T10 Fort Shalmaneser, Ivories from Nimrud (1949-1963), Fasc. VII. London: The British School of Archaeology in Iraq, no. 65, p. 140, pl. 13.

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. 3.38, p. 148.

Gubel, Eric. 2016. “Crossing Continents: Phoenician Art and How to Read It.” In Assyria to Iberia: Art and Culture in the Iron Age, edited by Joan Aruz and Michael Seymour. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 174, fig. 10.
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