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Museum Classroom (Bellarmine LL 105)

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 The image features a plaster cast of a carving depicting a lioness. She cries out in pain as she drags her back legs, her body pierced with three arrows and bleeding.

Open Access

Wounded Lionness

Detail from Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions, North Palace, Nineveh (Northern Iraq)
Artist: Unknown Assyrian Artist Primary
Date: ca. 645 BCE
7th century BCE
Object Type: Plaster Cast
Creation Place: Middle East, Iraq
Medium and Support: Plaster cast after gypsum original
Credit Line: Gift of the Slater Memorial Museum, 2013.
Accession Number: 2019.04.27
On View: Elisabeth H. Schwabe Seminar Room, Bellarmine Hall LL 105

This cast is taken from a scene that is part of a series of reliefs from the palace of King Ashurbanipal in Ninevah in modern-day Iraq. This series depicts a royal hunt that took place within a hunting park near the North Palace. Scenes depicting kings hunting lions were important symbols of political power in the Assyrian Empire, demonstrating a king's ability to protect his people from both natural enemies as well as the chaotic supernatural forces they represent.

You can see images of the original relief on the British Museum's website here . To learn more about lion hunting in the ancient Near East, you can read this essay


Click a term to view other artwork with the same keyword

Refers to the period roughly from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE, when Assyrian rulers first appeared in northern Mesopotamia and continuing until the fall of their empire in 612 BCE.
Near Eastern
Refers to the culture that developed in antiquity in the vast geographical area extending from Turkey in the west to Iran in the East.
Any living organisms, including human beings; may be real or fictional, including mythical or legendary creatures.
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Panthera leo
Large, powerful species of cat that is well-muscled, with a large head, short legs, size and appearance that varies considerably between the sexes, and is unique among the cats in living in family groups or prides. In the Pleistocene, lions were the most widespread large land mammals, ranging throughout Eurasia, Africa, and North America. Today listed as Vulnerable, remaining only in fragmented populations remain in Sub-Saharan Africa and western India.
Three-dimensional works of art in which images and forms are produced in relief, in intaglio, or in the round. The term refers particularly to art works created by carving or engraving a hard material, by molding or casting a malleable material (which usually then hardens), or by assembling parts to create a three-dimensional object. It is typically used to refer to large or medium-sized objects made of stone, wood, bronze, or another metal. Small objects are typically referred to as "carvings" or another appropriate term. "Sculpture" refers to works that represent tangible beings, objects, or groups of objects, or are abstract works that have defined edges and boundaries and can be measured. As three-dimensional works become more diffused in space or time, or less tangible, use appropriate specific terms, such as "mail art" or "environmental art."
Events, usually competitive, focusing on the act of chasing wild animals for the purpose of catching or killing them.
royal hunts
Hunts arranged for royalty or other rulers. Prime examples were ritual hunts in Europe and Asia.

Portfolio List

This object is a member of the following portfolios:

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