Classics and Archaeology Virtual Museum

Nimrud Ivories

"Three ivories are kept in the Near Eastern collection of the University of Melbourne. They were found during regular excavations conducted at Nimrud, in northern Iraq, by Max Mallowan and assigned to the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, subsequently merged with the Department of Classics, in acknowledgment of the financial support received by the British excavator.

Nimrud, ancient Kalhu (Biblical Calah), was the capital city of the Assyrian empire from the mid ninth century B.C. to the late eighth century, when it was replaced, first, by Khorsabad (ancient Dur-Sharrukin) and then by Nineveh.

Large collections of ivories were recovered from the ruins of Nimrud/Kalhu, essentially by H.A. Layard in the nineteenth century and by Max Mallowan after World War II. Although some of these ivories were carved in characteristically Assyrian style, they were, in their overwhelming majority, imported from the West and represented various schools of Syrian and Phoenician ivory carving.

Such objects were used to decorate pieces of furniture. Although reminiscences of the Egyptian style are still visible on the Melbourne University examples, such ivories can be considered as good representatives of North Syrian art.

The Melbourne University ivories have been published by Georgina Herrmann..." [unsigned printed document in files, believed to be by Dr G Bunnens.]

See the database entries for Herrmann's descriptions. Another account of the ivories provided to Professor Sear by Andrew Jamieson has not been reconciled with Herrmann's account.

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