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Assyrian bas-relief with the head of a genie

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    The Assyrian reliefs depict the style and wealth of Mesopotamian kings, who ruled over the entire Near East during the early first millennium. This relief of a winged genius (originally belonging to a panel of min. 2.30 m height) and the accompanying "Standard texts" (O.0271, O.0278) were part of the same ritual scene that was repeated numerous times on the walls of the palace of Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE) in Nimrud.
    The genius wears a horned crown, the traditional symbol of a tutelary deity who had to protect the king from demons and enemies. The relief is clearly executed in a typical Assyrian style: the divine tiara, the long and carefully curled hair and beard, the beautiful earring and the fringed robe.
    Around 1850, during his excavations in Nimrud, Henry Layard cut this relief from a scene depicting the worshipping of the Holy Tree. He donated this fragment to Captain John Hope, presumably to thank him for assisting in the transport of the Assyrian reliefs to Britain.