Syria - Mesopotamia   :|:   Document

Nimrud bottles

ref. : en.700.2013 | 23 September 2014 | by Francis Leveque
sculpture | IXe century BC
Nimrud (Kalhu), Mésopotamie ( Irak )
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Nimrud is the acropolis of the city Kalhu or Kalkhu (in Arabic). Located 35 km from Nineveh (Mosul now) it controls the upper Zab. It is built on a cliff overlooking the Tigris River to the west. This is one of the largest ancient cities known spanning about 360 hectares, of which 20 are occupied by the acropolis (Nimrud).

Ashurnasirpal II (883-859) there build temples to several gods including "Enlil and Ninurta," a ziggurat, a wall and a palace. The decorations of the palace several times show men in a river on bottles.

The three characters here leave a fight scene where soldiers are engaged in the water to try to escape. Assyrian archers were waiting on the shore. They seem to cope. Their robe indicates that these are three high-ranking individuals. The beardless figure in the back is probably a eunuch.

They probably owe their survival to the bottles which support two men in the water. They have one end in his mouth to inflate their addition is probably not very waterproof for surely improvised.

Height : 88 cm ; width : 225 cm ; thickness : 9,5 cm

The panel is now on display in Room B, top panel 17 in British Museum.


Bibliography :

  • A.H. Layard, The monuments of Nineveh, from drawings made on the spot, John Murray, London , 1849, pl. 33
  • A.H. Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, John Murray, London , 1849, vol. 1, p.128-129
  • E.A.W. Budge, Assyrian Sculptures in the British Museum, Reign of Ashur-nasir-pal, 885-890 B.C, British Museum Press, London , 1914, pl. XIII.2
  • C.J. Gadd, The Stones of Assyria: the surviving remains of Assyrian sculpture, their recovery, and their original positions, Chatto and Windus, London , 1936, p.133
  • A.K. Grayson, Assyrian Royal Inscriptions (ARI) , 1976, p.138, n° 2
  • J. Meuszynski, Die Rekonstruktion der Reliefdarstellungen und ihrer Anordnung im Nordwestpalast von Kalhu (Nimrūd), Mainz am Rhein , 1981, p.23
  • A.K. Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC, I (1114-859 BC) (RIMA), University of Toronto Press, Toronto , 1991,
  • J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade, Art and empire: treasures from , The British Museum Press, London , 1995, n° 4
  • , The British Museum, Splendours of Mesopotamia, British Museum Press, London , 2011, p.102-103, cat.68