One Of Two Lions From The Temple Of Ishtar, Nuzi
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
One of Two Lions from the Temple of Ishtar, Nuzi
Work Type
c. 1400 BCE-1350 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Nuzi (Mesopotamia)
Mitannian period
Physical Descriptions
Terracotta with copper alkaline glaze
29.5 x 14 x 37 cm (11 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 14 9/16 in.)
Excavated from Yorghan Tepe, Iraq (1930).
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard-Baghdad School Expedition
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
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.
Publication History

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

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at