Assyrian Reliefs

Long Term Installation

These twelve massive carved alabaster panels, on view together for the first time, dominate the walls of the Brooklyn Museum's Hagop Kevorkian Gallery of Ancient Middle Eastern Art. Originally brightly painted, they once adorned the vast palace of King Ashur-nasir-pal II (883–859 B.C.), one of the greatest rulers of ancient Assyria.

Art Exhibition previously on at Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, United States.
From Thursday 01 January 2009 to Sunday 01 January 2012

Published by Brooklyn Museum on Friday 09 January 2009.
Contact the publisher.

Long-Term Installation
Kevorkian Gallery, 3rd Floor
Completed in 879 B.C. at the site of Kalhu (modern Nimrud, slightly north of what is now Baghdad, Iraq), the palace was decorated by skilled relief-carvers with these majestic images of kings, divinities, magical beings, and sacred trees.

How the Reliefs Came to Brooklyn

In 879 B.C., King Ashur-nasir-pal II celebrated the completion of his palace at Kalhu by hosting a banquet for 69,574 guests, but the glorious palace was soon abandoned and forgotten. In 1840, nearly three thousand years later, a young English diplomat named Austen Henry Layard noticed an unusually large mound while rafting down the Tigris River. He returned in 1845 to unearth the remains of the palace, sending his discoveries to the British Museum in London. He sent so many monumental sculptures and relief-decorated slabs that the museum sold some of them, including these twelve reliefs. In 1855, the expatriate American Henry Stevens purchased the reliefs and shipped them to Boston. Unable to raise funds for the reliefs there, he sold them to James Lenox for the New-York Historical Society. In 1937, the Society lent them to the Brooklyn Museum and in 1955, Hago