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Sacred Tree

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Ancient Middle Eastern Art, The Hagop Kevorkian Gallery, 3rd Floor
The sacred tree is one of the oldest themes in ancient Near Eastern art. Some scholars have suggested that the sacred tree symbolized life; others interpret it as a symbolic representation of the king. The earliest depictions of the sacred tree were naturalistic. Later artists, including those working for Assyrian kings, favored forms that seem more ornamental than real. The palmette at the crown of the tree has been interpreted to represent the frond of a date palm, and the tree itself is associated with the goddess Ishtar, a fertility deity and goddess of the date harvest.
MEDIUM Gypsum stone
DATES ca. 883–859 B.C.E.
PERIOD Neo-Assyrian Period
DIMENSIONS 89 7/8 x 53 9/16 in. (228.3 x 136 cm) Approximate weight: 2450 lb. (1111.31kg)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Alabaster relief, upper part of conventionalized date palm with "Standard inscription" incised across center of relief. At left edge, wings of a genie. Joins with right edge of 55.149. Condition: Minor chips on edges - otherwise intact.
CAPTION Assyrian. Sacred Tree, ca. 883–859 B.C.E. Gypsum stone, 89 7/8 x 53 9/16 in. (228.3 x 136 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation, 55.150. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.150_at_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, after treatment, 55.150_at_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2021
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