Assyrian wall relief depicting musical instruments

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Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
published on 31 August 2014

This alabaster bas relief depicts marching shield bearers accompanied by a group of musicians who carry different musical instruments. The male musicians are carrying rectangular drums with a string; this instrument can still be found in modern Iraq and northern Africa and is seen here for the very first time! The same applies to the cymbals, which are made of two sound boxes and handles; the second woman on the right holds a cymbal. At the end of the procession walks a richly decorated woman who holds a round drum.

The arrangement and cut of these wall reliefs suggest that the whole representation and scene was placed on the side walls of a descending ramp that leads from the Royal Palace to the Ishtar Temple. Therefore, the Assyrian king was able to go directly from his palace to the temple during cult ceremonies. From Nineveh, northern Mesopotamia, Iraq. Neo-Assyrian period, reign of king Sennacherib, 705-681 BCE. The Pergamon Museum, Berlin.

About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Amin, O. S. M. (2014, August 31). Assyrian wall relief depicting musical instruments. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Amin, Osama S. M. "Assyrian wall relief depicting musical instruments." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 31, 2014.

MLA Style

Amin, Osama S. M. "Assyrian wall relief depicting musical instruments." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 31 Aug 2014. Web. 24 Apr 2019.

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