Apkallu-figure Fertilizing the Sacred Tree
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Ancient Middle Eastern Art, The Hagop Kevorkian Gallery, 3rd Floor
The most common scene on the reliefs from the palace of King Ashur-nasir-pal II shows winged genies caring for a sacred tree. Usually the genies hold a basket and a mysterious object resembling a pinecone. Scholars generally agree that this scene represents a pollination ritual in which the female flowers were fertilized with male seed. It is likely that visitors to the palace understood that not only were the winged genies caring for the tree, but they, along with their master the king, were also receiving its magical power.
ca. 883-859 B.C.E.
90 1/2 x 78 15/16 in. (229.8 x 200.5 cm)
Approximate weight: 3290 lb. (1492.33kg) (show scale)
Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation
Alabaster relief, winged man-headed figure wearing cap with triple horns, standing between two incomplete date-palms. Figure faces right and fertilizes tree with cone grasped in right hand, in the left hand a bucket. "Standard inscription" incised across center of relief. Possibly joins with 55.152.
Condition: Broken diagonally across center into five fragments. Small areas missing along breaks.
Assyrian. Apkallu-figure Fertilizing the Sacred Tree, ca. 883-859 B.C.E. Gypsum stone, 90 1/2 x 78 15/16 in. (229.8 x 200.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation, 55.151. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.151_at_PS11.jpg)
overall, after treatment, 55.151_at_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2021
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