Daily Archives: November 25, 2008

Treasures from Assyria

Recently I wrote about the of Assyrian treasures from the British Museum currently exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. See here. Monday afternoon Leon Mauldin and I spent a few hours in the MFA visiting the Assyria exhibit as well as the Roman and Egyptian sections of the Museum. We had a little time to sample some of the other great art treasures there.

I had seen quite a few of the artifacts in the British Museum, but the exhibit was well arranged and certainly worth the time and fee. I urge everyone within a reasonable distance to attend between now and January 4. Check the web site here.

The artifact used on the front of the exhibit catalog and the advertising for the Boston exhibit shows a relief in ivory of a lioness devouring a man with negroid features in a thicket of stylized lotus and papyrus plants. This piece belongs to the Nimrud ivories displayed in the British Museum. Photos are not allowed in the Boston exhibit, but here is a picture I made about five years ago in the BM.

One of the Nimrud Ivories from the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

One of the Nimrud Ivories from the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Both Israel and Judah had contact with the Assyrian Empire. There are numerous historical contacts between the two nations attested in both the Bible and the Assyrian records.

The reliefs on display show the Assyrians at war — always victorious. The kings are shown hunting lions and bulls. This spirit of conquest is mentioned by the prohphet Isaiah.

Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation, I send it against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets.  Yet it does not so intend, Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy And to cut off many nations. (Isaiah 10:5-7)