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Apkallu-figure Fertilizing the Sacred Tree

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Ancient Middle Eastern Art, The Hagop Kevorkian Gallery, 3rd Floor
In Assyrian art the basket and cone almost always appear in the hands of supernatural creatures rather than humans, suggesting that these objects may have served a magical purpose. Assyrian texts refer to the basket and cone carried by the genies in many of these reliefs as a “bucket” and “purifier.” This terminology may indicate that in addition to serving to pollinate the sacred tree (as scholars have concluded), these objects had a cleansing effect as well.
MEDIUM Gypsum stone
DATES ca. 883–859 B.C.E.
PERIOD Neo-Assyrian Period
DIMENSIONS 90 1/4 x 79 1/8 in. (229.2 x 201 cm) Approximate weight: 3570 lb. (1619.34kg)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Alabaster relief, winged man-headed figure wearing horned cap, standing between two incomplete date-palms. Figure faces left, fertilizing tree with cone held in right hand, usual bucket in left hand. "Standard Inscription" incised across center of relief. Condition: Broken across upper left corner with gaps on arm and head.
CAPTION Assyrian. Apkallu-figure Fertilizing the Sacred Tree, ca. 883–859 B.C.E. Gypsum stone, 90 1/4 x 79 1/8 in. (229.2 x 201 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation, 55.152. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.152_at_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, after treatment, 55.152_at_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2021
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