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rounded cap, ornamented at the lower part by a kind of horn curved upwards in front. The garments of both, consisting of a stole falling from the shoulders to the ankles, and a short tunic underneath, descending to the knee, were richly and tastefully decorated with embroideries and fringes. Their hair fell in a profusion of ringlets on their shoulders, and their beards were elaborately arranged in alternate rows of curls. Although the relief was lower, yet the outline was perhaps more careful, and true, than that of the sculptures of Khorsabad. The limbs were delineated with peculiar accuracy, and the muscles and bones faithfully, though somewhat too strongly, marked. In the centre of the slab, and crossing the figures, was an inscription. Adjoining this slab, was a second, cut so as to form a corner, sculptured with an elegant device, in which curved branches, springing from a kind of scroll-work, terminated in flowers of graceful form. As one of the figures last described was turned, as if in act of adoration, towards this device, it was evidently a sacred emblem; and I recognised in it the holy tree, or tree of life, so universally adored at the remotest periods in the East, and which was preserved in the religious systems of the Persians to the final overthrow
Assyrian Ornament. (Nimroud.)
Greek Honeysuckle Ornament.
of their empire by the Arabian conquerors. The flowers were formed by seven petals springing from two tendrils, or a double scroll; thus in all its details resembling that tasteful ornament of Ionic architecture known as the honeysuckle. The alternation of this flower with an object resembling a tulip in the embroideries on the garments of the two winged figures just described, and in other bas-reliefs subsequently discovered, establishes, beyond a doubt, the origin of one of the most favourite and elegant embellishments of Greek art. We are also reminded, by the peculiar arrangement of the intertwining branches, of the “network of pomegranates,” which was one of the principal ornaments of the temple of Solomon.* This sculpture and the two winged figures resembled in their style and details several of the fragments built into the S.W. palace, proving at once, from whence the greater part of the materials used in the construction of that building had been obtained.
Adjoining this corner-stone was a figure of singular form. A human body, clothed in robes similar to those of the winged
Greek Eloneysuckle Ornament.
* i Kings, vii. 41, 42. Similar trees, in which the flowers above described were replaced by pomegranates, were afterwards discovered in the centre palace of Nimrod. Mr. Fergusson, in his “ Palace of Nineveh and Persepolis restored,” has conjectured that this remarkable object represents the “ grove" or "groves” which led the Israelites into idolatry. (Judges, iii. 7.; 1 Kings, xiv. 23. ; 2 Kings, xxi. 3. 7. &c.) Mr. Fergusson also remarks, with regard to the connection between the ornaments mentioned in the text, and those of Greek architecture, “ that it is now impossible to doubt that all that is Ionic in the arts of Greece is derived from the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates.” (P. 340.)
men already described, was surmounted by the head of an eagle or of a vulture.* The curved beak, of considerable
length, was half open, and displayed a narrow pointed tongue, on which were still the remains of red paint. On the shoulders
* It has been suggested that it is the head of a cock, but it is unquestionably that of a carnivorous bird of the eagle tribe.
fell the usual curled and bushy hair of the Assyrian images, and a comb of feathers rose on the top of the head. Two wings sprang from the back, and in either hand was the square vessel and fir-cone. In a kind of girdle were three daggers, the handle of one being in the form of the head of a bull. They may have been of precious metal, but more probably of copper, inlaid with ivory or enamel, as a few days before a copper dagger-handle, precisely similar in form to one of those carried by this figure, hollowed to receive an ornament of some such material, had been discovered in the S.W. ruins, and is now preserved in the British Museum. This effigy, which probably typified by its mythic form the union of certain divine attributes, may perhaps be identified with the god Nisroch, in whose temple Sennacherib was slain by his sons” after his return from his unsuccessful expedition against Jerusalem; the word Nisr signifying, in all Semitic languages, an eagle.f On all these figures were traces of color, particularly on the hair, beard, eyes, and sandals, and there can be no doubt that they had been originally painted. The slabs on which they were sculptured had sustained no injury, and they evidently formed part of a chamber, which could be completely explored by digging along the wall, now partly uncovered. On the morning following these discoveries, I had ridden to the encampment of Sheikh Abd-ur-rahman, and was returning to the mound, when I saw two Arabs of his tribe urging their mares to the top of their speed. On approaching me they stopped. “Hasten, O Bey,” exclaimed one of them—“hasten to the diggers, for they have found Nimrod himself. Wallah! it is wonderful, but it is true! we have seen him with our eyes. There is no God but God; ” and both joining in this pious
* 2 Kings, xix. 37.
f The form of this deity was conjectured to be that of an eagle long before the discovery of the Assyrian sculptures. (And. Beyeri ad Joh. Seldeni de Dis Syriis Syntag, addit. p. 325.)
exclamation, they galloped off, without further words, in the direction of their tents.
On reaching the ruins I descended into the new trench, and found the workmen, who had already seen me, as I approached, standing near a heap of baskets and cloaks. Whilst Awad advanced and asked for a present to celebrate the occasion, the Arabs withdrew the screen they had hastily constructed, and disclosed an enormous human head sculptured in full out of the alabaster of the country. They had uncovered the upper part of a figure, the remainder of which was still buried in the earth. I saw at once that the head must belong to a winged lion or bull, similar to those of Khorsabad and Persepolis. It