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. 1400-1350 BCE
2nd millennium BCE
Mitannian period
Creation Place: Nuzi (Mesopotamia)
Terracotta with copper alkaline glaze
38.8 x 14 x 37 cm (15 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 14 9/16 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard-Baghdad School Expedition
, 1931.162.A
Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art & Numismatics
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 open mouth reveals the hollow interior of the statue. Modeled face. The long tail curls over the animal's back, pointing to its left flank. Body and head are largely intact, although the legs were discovered broken into several fragments. The right rear leg is missing a fragment at the upper end.

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.
Excavated from Yorghan Tepe, Iraq (January 1930).
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.

Pamela B. Vandiver, "Ancient Glazes", Scientific American, Scientific American, Inc. (New York, 1997), Special Issue "The Origins of Technology", pp. 20-27, p. 25, ill. 3

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