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adorned with the heads of rams; the legs of the footstool terminated in lions' paws. They may have been of wood or copper, inlaid with ivory and other precious materials, or of solid gold, like the tables and couches in the temple of Belus at Babylon.
The figures in these fine bas-reliefs were about eight feet high. They were in an extraordinary state of preservation, the most delicate chasings being still distinct, and the outline retaining all its original sharpness.* On the other slabs forming the walls of this chamber were alternate groups, representing the king holding his bow in one hand and two arrows in the other, standing between winged figures ; and the king also erect, raising the sacred cup, and attended by eunuchs. The details in these sculptures were similar in character to those already described. They furnished, however, many new and interesting groups; such as the combats of winged figures with monsters of various forms, scenes of the chase, goats and bulls kneeling before the sacred tree, and the king performing certain religious ceremonies.
The Arabs marvelled at these strange figures. As each head was uncovered they showed their amazement by extravagant gestures, or exclamations of surprise. If it were a bearded man, they concluded at once that it was an idol or a Jin, and cursed, or spat upon, it. If an eunuch, they declared that it was the likeness of a beautiful female, and kissed or patted the cheek. They soon felt as much interest as I did in the discoveries, and worked with renewed ardour when their curiosity was excited by the appearance of a fresh sculpture. On such occasions stripping themselves almost naked, throwing the kerchief from their heads, and letting their matted hair stream in the wind, they would rush like madmen into the trenches to carry off the baskets of earth, shouting, at the same time, the war-cry of the tribe.
Passing through an entrance formed by the usual winged figures, I reached a chamber panelled by slabs, on which was
* They are now in the British Museum; but, unfortunately, owing to the extreme neglect shown in their transport to this country, they have been much injured.
sculptured the king, raising a richly ornamented cup and standing between two divinities wearing fillets adorned with rosettes round their temples.” I quitted this chamber, after uncovering the upper part of four or five bas-reliefs; and returning to the western wall of that previously explored, discovered another pair of humanheaded lions, similar to, but smaller than, those forming the grand entrance to the great hall. So perfect was the preservation of even the smallest details, that had not the slabs been slightly cracked, I could have fancied they had issued but the day before from the hand of the sculptor. The accumulation of earth and rubbish above this part of the ruins was very considerable, and it is not improbable that it was owing to this the sculptures had been so completely guarded from injury. I was now anxious to send to Baghdad, or Busrah, for transport to Bombay, such sculptures as I could move with the means at my disposal. Major Rawlinson had obligingly proposed that, for this purpose, the small steamer navigating the lower part of the Tigris should be sent up to Nimroud, and I expected the most valuable assistance, both in removing the slabs and in forming plans for future excavations, from her able commander, Lieutenant Jones. The Euphrates, one of the two vessels originally constructed for the navigation of the rivers of Mesopotamia, had some years before succeeded in reaching the tomb of Sultan Abd-Allah, a few miles below Nimroud. Impediments, not more serious than those she had already surmounted, occurring in this part of the bed of the stream, she returned to Baghdad. A vessel, even of her size, and with engines of the same power, could have reached, I have little doubt, the bund or dam of the Awai, which would probably have been a barrier to a further ascent of the Tigris. It was found, however, that the machinery of the Nitocris was either too much out of repair, or not sufficiently powerful to impel the vessel over the rapids, which occur in the river. After ascending some miles above Tekrit the attempt was given up, and she returned to her station. Without proper materials it was impossible to move the colossal lions, or even any entire slab. The ropes of the country were so ill-made that they could not support any considerable weight. I determined, therefore, to saw the slabs containing double bas-reliefs into two pieces, and to lighten them as much as possible by cutting from the back. The inscriptions being a mere repetition of the same formula, I did not consider it necessary to preserve them, as they added to the weight. With the help of levers of wood, and by digging away the wall of sun-dried bricks, I was able to move the sculptures into the centre of the trenches, where they were reduced to the requisite size. They were then packed and transported from the mound upon rude buffalo carts belonging to the Pasha, to the river, where they were placed upon a raft constructed of inflated skins and beams of poplar wood. They were floated down the Tigris as far as Baghdad, were there transferred to boats of the country, and reached Busrah in the month of August. The sculptures sent home on this occasion formed the first collection exhibited to the public in the British Museum. Whilst I was moving these bas-reliefs, Tahyar Pasha visited me. He was accompanied, for his better security, by a large body of regular and irregular troops, and three guns. His Diwan Effendesi, seal-bearer, and all the dignitaries of his household, were also with him. I entertained this large company for two days. The Pasha's tents were pitched on an island in the river near my shed. He visited the ruins, and expressed no less wonder at the sculptures than the Arabs; nor were his conjectures as to their origin and the nature of the subjects represented much more rational than those of the sons of the desert. The colossal human-headed lions terrified, as well as amazed, his Osmanli followers. “La Illahi il Allah” (there is no God but God), was echoed from all sides. “These
* Ch. H, plan 2.
rest. “I saw many such when I was in Italia with Reshid Pasha, the ambassador. Wallah! they have them in all the churches, and the Papas (priests) kneel and burn candles before them.” “No, my lamb,” exclaimed a more aged and experienced Turk. “I have seen the images of the infidels in the churches of Beyoglu ; they are dressed in many colors; and although some of them have wings, none have a dog's body and a tail; these are the works of the Jin, whom the holy Solomon, peace be upon him reduced to obedience and imprisoned under his seal.” “I have seen something like them in your apothecaries' and barbers’ shops,” said I, alluding to the well-known figure, half woman and half lion, which is met with so frequently in the bazaars of Constantinople. “Istafer Allah” (God forbid), piously ejaculated the Pasha; “that is a sacred emblem of which true believers speak with reverence, and not the handywork of infidels.” “There is no infidel living,” exclaimed the engineer, who was looked up to as an authority on these subjects, “either in Frangistan or in Yenghi Dunia (America), who could make anything like that ; they are the work of the Majus (Magi), and are to be sent to England to form a gateway to the palace of the Queen.” “May God curse all infidels and their works l” observed the cadi’s deputy, who accompanied the Pasha; “what comes from their hands is of Satan : it has pleased the Almighty to let them be more powerful and ingenious than the true believers in this world that their punishment and the reward of the faithful may be greater in the next.” The heat had now become so intense that my health began to suffer from continual exposure to the sun, and from the labor entailed upon me by the excavations. In the trenches, where I daily passed many hours, the thermometer generally ranged from 112° to 115° in the shade, and on one or two occasions even reached 117°. Hot winds swept like blasts from a furnace over the desert during the day, and drove away sleep by night. I resolved, therefore, to take refuge for a week in the sardaubs or cellars of Mosul ; and, in order not to lose time, to try further excavations in the Mound of Kouyunjik.
CHAP. W. DISCOVERY OF A MOUND NEAR KOUYUNJIK. 103
Leaving a superintendent, and a few guards to watch over the uncovered sculptures, I rode to the town. The houses of Baghdad and Mosul are provided with underground apartments, in which the inhabitants pass the day during the summer months. They are generally ill-lighted, and the air is close and frequently unwholesome ; still they offer a welcome retreat during the hot weather, when it is impossible to sit in a room. At sunset the people emerge from these subterraneous chambers and congregate on the roofs, where they spread their carpets, eat their evening meal, and pass the night. o After many fruitless inquiries after the bas-relief, described by Rich" as having been discovered in one of the mounds forming the large quadrangle in which are included Nebbi Yunus and Kouyunjik, I met with an aged stone-cutter, who declared that he had not only been present when the sculpture was found, but that he had been employed to break it up. He pointed out the spot, in the northern line of ruins, and I at once commenced excavations. The workmen were not long in coming upon fragments of sculptured alabaster, and after two or three days’ labor, an entrance was discovered, formed by two winged figures, which had been purposely destroyed. The legs and the lower part of the tunic were alone preserved. The proportions were colossal, and the relief higher than that of any sculpture hitherto discovered in Assyria. This entrance led into a chamber, the lower part of the walls of which was panelled with limestone slabs about five feet high and three broad. There were marks of the chisel upon them all as if something had been effaced; but from their size it appeared doubtful whether figures had ever been sculptured upon them. The upper part of the walls was of sun-dried bricks. In the rubbish filling up the chamber were discovered numerous baked bricks, bearing the name of the Kouyunjik king. The pavement was of limestone. After tracing the walls of one chamber, I renounced a further examination of the ruin, as no traces of
* Residence in Kurdistan and Nineveh, vol. ii. p. 39.