From Nimrud, which is in the news recently, having been retaken from the so-called 'Islamic State' by Iraqi forces. Not before the barbarians of ISIS had destroyed what remained of the ancient city. This was the capital city of the kingdom under Ashurnasirpal II, under the name of Kalhu. Fortunately objects like this had been saved from destruction many years ago. This wall panel (2.4 x 1.3 metres) is in alabaster and dates from about 870 BC, according to the Museum guide (which, incidentally, is a beautifully colour-illustrated bargain at €8.00):
'This particular slab depicts a winged genie whose right hand is raised in a ritual gesture, while his left hand holds a container for holy water. The central section of the relief is crossed by a long inscription in cuneiform characters dedicated to the monarch [Ashurnasirpal II] and referring to the king's titles, constructions and military deeds.'
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