Assyrian Terracotta Dish Depicting a Standing Figure

SKU SP.037

900 BC to 700 BC


8.75″ (22.2 cm) high





Gallery Location



Although archaeological excavations reveal that the land of the Assyrians had been inhabited as early as 5000 B.C., it was not until the reign of King Sargon of Akkad in 2371 B.C. that the Assyrians first rose to glory. Under Sargon, the kingdom rapidly expanded north to the city of Ashur and as far west as the Mediterranean, controlled by a central government based in Akkad. By 1813 B.C., King Shamshi-Adad I united the cities of Ashur, Nineveh, and Arbel into one cohesive administrative unit. These three cities, as well as Arrapkha and Kalhu (later known as Nimrud), form the historical core of the Assyrian Kingdom which would remain a credible force throughout the Mediterranean world for the next millennium. While various parts of Assyrian territory were annexed for brief periods of time by neighboring civilizations, this core remained firmly intact. The Assyrians experienced another Golden Age, lasting from the 9th until the 7th Century B.C. (this period is referred to as “Neo- Assyrian”). During this period, the kingdom grew to its largest extent, encompassing the lands from parts of modern Iran to the Mediterranean, from Anatolia to Egypt.

This sumptuous dish features a finely modeled standing male figure in raised relief holding an Ibex in one hand a downward pointing poppy flower in the other. This famous image is one oft occurring in Assyrian art, and is perhaps best known from the wall reliefs of Sargon II's palace at Dur Sharrukin. Evocative of the winged Genie reliefs from the very same palace, this figure displays all of the tenets found in iconic Assyrian imagery… the dynamic and powerful striding pose seen in profile, delicately rendered drapery, adornments, and features in exquisite detail, and the countless circular curls used to represent hair and beard. This well preserved masterpiece of Assyrian art speaks to the brilliant sophistication and elegance of their civilization.

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