Monday, September 20, 2010
"Striding Lions from the Past"

Striding Lion from Processional Avenue north of the Ishtar Gate
Iraq, Babylon, Neo-Babylonian period, reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, ca. 604-562 BCE BCE
Molded brick with polychrome glaze, 90.3 cm H, 230.5 cm W
Purchased in Berlin, 1931 OIM A7481

The Met Museum also has a pair of these lions, also acquired in 1931:

Mesopotamia, Babylon (modern Hilah)
Ceramic, glaze, 38.25 x 89.5 in. (97.16 x 227.33 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1931, #31.13.1-.2

Wikipedia reports "A reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way was built at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin out of material excavated by Robert Koldewey and finished in the 1930s. It includes the inscription plaque. It stands 47 feet high and 100 feet wide (14 meters by 30 meters). The excavation ran from 1902-1914, and, during that time, 45 feet of the foundation of the gate was uncovered.

"The gate was in fact a double gate. The part that is shown in the Pergamon Museum today is only the smaller, frontal part, while the larger, back part was considered too large to fit into the constraints of the structure of the museum. It is in storage.

"Parts of the gate and lions from the Processional Way are in various other museums around the world. Only three museums acquired dragons, while lions went to several museums. The Istanbul Archaeology Museum has lions, dragons, and bulls. The Detroit Institute of Arts houses a dragon. The Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden, has one dragon and one lion; the Louvre, the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Oriental Institute in Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, each have lions."

Ah, more museums for me to visit in the future!

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