Winged Genie

Relief of Man-Headed Figure Holding Fircone and Basket
Nimrud, Assyria (modern day Iraq)
Neo-Assyrian Period, ca. 883-859 B.C.E.
Purchased with funds given by Hagop Kevorkian and the Kevorkian Foundation
Brooklyn Museum # 55.145
Photo © Joan Ann Lansberry

From Museum website
"Each genie depicted in the reliefs exhibited here carries two knives tucked in his garment and in some cases a whetstone for sharpening the blades as well. Knives of this type are known to have been used from as early as the twelfth century b.c. Their hilts were often inlaid with bone, ivory, bronze, or precious metal, and their scabbards were decorated with the heads of birds. The whetstones were also decorated with an animal head, often of a horse or a bull."

From info card
"Because most people in the ancient Near East could not read, artists developed symbols to help individuals identify the figures on palace and temple walls. As a sign of their supernatural essence, the human-headed genies in the reliefs from Ashur-nasir-pal IIs palace all wear horned helmets. This association between horns and divine (or semidivine) presence had a long history in the ancient Near East. Beginning in the Akkadian Period (circa 23712230 b.c.) artists used bovine horns as symbols of divinity, and biblical and archaeological evidence indicates that horned altars were common in Israelite religion."