Openwork furniture plaque with a grazing oryx in a forest of fronds
ca. 9th–8th century B.C.
Mesopotamia, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)
5 x 4.69 x 0.43 in. (12.7 x 11.91 x 1.09 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1958
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 406
Furniture inlaid with carved ivory plaques was highly prized by the Assyrian kings. During the ninth to seventh centuries B.C., vast quantities of luxury goods, often embellished with carved ivory in local, Syrian, and Phoenician styles, accumulated in Assyrian palaces, much of it as booty or tribute. This object belongs to a group of plaques depicting animals and stylized plants. They were made by master carvers in a delicate openwork technique characteristic of Phoenician ivory carving. However, the style and subjects depicted have close parallels on stone relief sculptures from Tell Halaf, in northern Syria, and a debate exists over which tradition produced these fine panels.
1957, excavated by Max Mallowan, on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; ceded in the division of finds to the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; acquired by the Museum in 1958, as a result of its financial contribution to the excavations.
“Archaeology: Exploring the Past,” The Junior Museum of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 22, 1962–June 30, 1966.
Illustrated London News. 1957. "Feasting Ladies, Men of Magic and a Doglike Lion—Beautiful and Enigmatic Ivories Newly Discovered in Nimrud's 'Fort Shalmaneser'." November 30, 1957, p. 935, fig. 4.
Wilkinson, Charles K. 1958. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 17 (2), Eighty-Eighth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1957-1958 (Oct., 1958), pp. 40-41.
Oates, David. 1959. "Fort Shalmaneser: An Interim Report." Iraq 21 (2), p. 102.
Wilkinson, Charles K. 1960. "Introduction." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 18 (8) Art of the Ancient Near East (Apr., 1960), p. 243, fig. 3.
Mallowan, Max E.L. 1966. Nimrud and Its Remains II. New York: Dodd, Mead, pp. 518-520, fig. 423.
Herrmann, Georgina. 1992. Ivories from Nimrud (1949-1963):The Small Collections from Fort Shalmaneser, fasc. V. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, no. 455, p. 125, pl. 92-3.