Palace of Ashurbanipal
The “Garden Party” relief from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Nineveh, circa 645 B.C.E. The British Museum, London.
The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (reigned 669–631 B.C.E.) and his queen sit facing each other in this panel recounting triumphs of the king’s reign. Due to its fine carving and the fact that it includes a depiction of the queen, the relief is assumed to be from their private apartments in the north palace. The scene captures a serene moment, with a harpist providing music as the king and queen enjoy food and drink and attendants use fronds to cool the air. However, part of the image is a reminder that the Assyrian king was a warrior and a conquerer of lands and peoples. On the tree in front of the harpist (left) hangs the head of Teumman, the king of the neighboring land of Elam. Even though Teumman is thought to have committed suicide rather than being killed by the Assyrian army, his head was brought back to Nineveh and displayed as a sign of the power and might of the Assyrian army. The palace was excavated by the native Assyrian Christian Assyriologist and British diplomat Hormuzd Rassam.
Dug up, often from an archaeological site.