Date: ca. 883–859 B.C.
Geography: Mesopotamia, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)
Medium: Gypsum alabaster
Dimensions: 92 1/4 x 92 x 4 1/2 in. (234.3 x 233.7 x 11.4 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1932
Accession Number: 32.143.4
The palace rooms at Nimrud were decorated with large stone slabs carved in low relief, with brightly painted walls and ceilings and sculptural figures guarding the doorways. The throne room contained narrative scenes commemorating the military victories of Ashurnasirpal, while in other areas of the palace were protective figures and images of the king and his retinue performing ritual acts.
On this relief slab the king Ashurnasirpal II wears the royal crown, a conical cap with a small peak and a long diadem. He holds a bow, a symbol of his authority, and a ceremonial bowl. Facing him, a eunuch, a "beardless one," carries a fly whisk and a ladle for replenishing the royal vessel. The peaceful, perhaps religious character of the scene is reflected in the dignified composure of the figures.