This relief from the west wing of the North-West Palace of the royal city of Kalhu (modern Nimrud, in Iraq) is only the lower part of a three-tier wall relief approximately 2.30 m in height. The king is shown standing on a light hunting chariot, with a driver and three horses. Although the lioness has already been struck by three arrows, the royal huntsman aims another arrow as she turns her head back, seemingly roaring in pain at her attacker. The lion being understood as an acute threat to humans and animals, this royal lion hunt can be seen as a symbolic representation of the ruler's defeating potential dangers to the Assyrian state. Particularly noteworthy is the wealth of detail in the originally coloured flat relief, especially in the hunting chariot and weapons and in the richly caparisoned horses and their bridles. The upper register, bearing another narrative relief, has been lost, and of the middle part, which carried the king's standard text, there survive only two lines of cuneiform script (see pp. 34-5). An almost identical relief (now in the British Museum, London) shows the king wielding his bow, with which he has just killed a male lion.


  • Title: Relief with Lion Hunt
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 880 BCE - 856 BCE
  • Location: Nimrud, Iraq
  • Physical Dimensions: w183 x h97 cm
  • Type: Relief
  • Medium: Alabaster
  • Inv. no.: VA 959
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-815718
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Foto © bpk - Foto Agency / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Olaf M. Teßmer || Text © Scala Publishers / Vorderasiatisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Ralf-B. Wartke
  • Collection: Vorderasiatisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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