Comparison Between Two Reliefs from the Northwest Palace

Topics: Assyria, Sculpture, Relief Pages: 4 (1576 words) Published: November 19, 2011
Name: Mingyu Qiao
TA:Rika Iezumi Hiro
Discussion Section: 11811
Date: October 10, 2011
Comparison between two reliefs from the Northwest Palace
The Ashurnasirpal II’s palace, now called the Northwest palace, was built and finished in 879 BCE at Nimrud, located in today’s northern Iraq. It was dedicated to serve as the daily living place as well as the palace to meet with ministers for the king. Ashurnasirpal II chose Nimrud, the ancient Khahu, to be the capital and then built a series of fortified citadels around it.1 And it was on the citadel the Ashurnasirpal II built the magnificent Northwest Palace. The palace stood out not only for its stable periphery but also for its first use of the carved stone panels in gypsum, called orthostats, with which the builders lined the interior lower walls. Both reliefs, Ashurnasirpal II and a Winged Deity and Deity Performing Ritual Purification were from those slabs in the King’s living room of the great Northwest Palace. Structurally, the innovation of using slabs to cover the lower part of the interior walls protects the mud brick from moisture and wears, reinforcing the perpetualness of the king’s reign of the Kingdom.2 But the slabs also served a communicative and decorative purpose, the durable surface for the relief decoration. Originally all the reliefs painted with bright colors, which made the relief vibrant. But very few of the pigments survived now due to the contact with the air. The reliefs are made of gypsum, an easily carved and locally available stone. Due to the limited craft of the ancient time, many sculptures chose gypsum because it is ease the process of cut. The reliefs found in the panels are all low relief. It also requires less work and is cheaper to produce, because less modeling is required. These reliefs were carved with delicate craft, showing common motifs such as the king accompanied with the winged genie performing a ritual process or some battle scenes. The two reliefs we are going to...

Bibliography: 1. Ada Cohen and Steven E. Kangas, Assyrian reliefs from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II: a cultural biography, 2010, 47.
2. Janson, H.W., Janson’s History of Art: The Western Tradition/ Penelope J.E. Davis …[et.all].—8th ed, 37.
3. Ada Cohen and Steven E. Kangas, Assyrian reliefs from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II: a cultural biography, 2010, 160
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