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Relief of the Sacred Tree

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, 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.
CULTURE Assyrian
MEDIUM Alabaster
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)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation
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CAPTION Assyrian. Relief of the Sacred Tree, ca. 883-859 B.C.E. Alabaster, 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
IMAGE installation, Kevorkian Gallery Installation (2009), CUR.55.150_kev09.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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