Art

One of Two Lions from the Temple of Ishtar, Nuzi

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One of Two Lions from the Temple of Ishtar, Nuzi, c. 1400 BCE-1350 BCE
Sculpture
Hurrian
,
2nd millennium BCE
Mitannian period
Creation Place: Nuzi (Mesopotamia)
Terracotta with copper alkaline glaze
29.5 x 14 x 37 cm (11 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 14 9/16 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard-Baghdad School Expedition
, 1931.162.B
Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art & Numismatics
,
Description
Lion standing with legs close together. It is made of five parts: both forelegs in one piece, separate rear legs, upper body and head, and base. The long tail curls over the animal's back, pointing to its right flank. Discovered broken into several fragments. The head of this statue is missing, revealing the hollow interior. The right rear leg is missing a fragment at the upper end. Similar construction and form to standing lion statue 1931.162.A, although the tail on this animal curls in the opposite direction, possibly indicating that the lions formed a pair.

The rectangular base of the statue is flat; its coarse reddish clay glazed only where the coating has dripped down from the figure. The vitrified glaze is the only apparent adhesive holding together the components of the statue. The glaze is generally faded, although occasional bright patches of color remain, particularly on the legs. Starr assembled the fragments in Iraq following their discovery. The lion was disassembled and restored in 1980 in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies of the Harvard Art Museum.
Provenance
Excavated from Yorghan Tepe, Iraq
Bibliography
Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), p. 96, no. 105, ill.

James Cuno, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, Harvard University Art Museums/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), p. 96-97, ill.

Exhibition History
Nuzi and the Hurrians, Semitic Museum, Cambridge, 04/01/1998 - 05/01/2008
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