This plaque, perforated around the edge, was perhaps once attached to a garment of a wealthy lord or to the shroud of a prince. Its design is similar to contemporary art of Assyria, Urartu, and Scythian-style objects. The plaque was originally composed of seven registers decorated in repoussé and chasing; two were separated and are now in the collection of the Archaeological Museum, Tehran. The registers display the familiar composite creatures of the ancient Near East striding in groups of three toward a stylized sacred tree, the central motif. The human-headed, winged lion, seen in the first and third register, is a creature that also appears as a gate guardian on the doorjambs in the palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. A sphinx struts along the second band, followed by winged lions and an ibex. The bodies of the fantastic creatures are composed of unusual combinations of animal and bird parts: in the uppermost register, the lions sport ostrich tails, while in the second, their tails are those of scorpions. The trees of life bear pomegranates, pine cones, and lotus flowers. Each scene is framed and separated by a delicate guilloche pattern.
“Gold,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, April 14–September 9, 1973.
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department,” MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan, The Aiche Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya, Japan, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, 1983.