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Art Midterm Project: Human Headed Winged Lion from Nimrud
Transcript of Art Midterm Project: Human Headed Winged Lion from Nimrud
How Is It Arranged?
This carving brings focus to the human head first by having it extend farther than the rest of the statue. The positioning of the legs and the sweep of the wing brings your eyes around the piece for natural movement. There is no pattern to this sculpture but it is still balanced, especially with both halves together. The proportions are fairly realistic, but the wings are slightly shorted and the human head is larger than normal. The two peices have a sense of unity when put together. Even as stand alone peices, the multiple figures seem to fit together in a way that seems like it wouldn't work.
Around 883-859 B.C. the Assyrians were near Mesopotamia in the capitol, Kalhu. For the palace of Ashurnasirpal II, there was a pair of figures created to impose terror and awe in all passerby's. Standing 313.7 cm tall were two winged figures with the head of a man in a doorway, one side with the body of a majestic lion and one with the solid body of a bull. These carvings of a gypsum alabaster mix now reside separately across the seas from one another. One lives in the New York Metropolitan and one lives in The British Museum.
The statues are both plain ivory colored, and there are no different types of value in the coloring. The lines are mostly curved to give a sense of movement to the piece. It shows off a sort of pride in the lines, moving yet not moving, always ready, always watching. This isn't made of geometric shapes but rather parts of living figures. The lion and bull give off an air of strength, while the human head portrays solemnity and wisdom. The wings give the figure speed. The belt was added for power and the the pointed horns of the bull for divinity.
By: Kathryn Randolph
Many of the shapes in this statue can be identified. The human head is the front of the figure and the first thing that catches the eye. The two front feet are firmly planted to signify that hes on guard.The large wing on the side is splayed as if in motion. The three feet on the side are placed the same way, as if in a running motion.
B: Purpose and Meaning
The statue was to guard the palace from demonic forces. A couple of noted symbols were the belt that symbolized power or strength and the pointed horns that they said symbolized divinity.It mostly showed that the people of the time were very superstitious and were religious to enough degree that they believed in demons.
I think it showed the way people thought back then. What they belived would protect them and what was imposing to the spirit world. It shows a sort of superstition of the time it was created.
Is it significant?
I think the carving is excellent due to the amount of detail that went into the head and the body of the sculpture.The artwork was important both as a status symbol and to help the people of the town and of the palace feel safer. They believed it kept them safe which kept them happier. I think it would've been an important symbol of power to have it guarding the palace doors.
This artwork is meant to look powerful and imposing.These figures were to protect the palace from demonic forces. The face shows off a powerful solemnity, as if it is always ready and able to attack but isn't worried at all. The figures radiate confidence. It reminds me a bit of the large lion statue in the middle of Paris, France that sits near the entrance of the catacombs. Both emanate a calm attitude in their positioning and facial features.
Human-headed Winged Lion (lamassu)." The Metropolitan Museum. N.p., n.d. Web.
02 Dec. 2013.
"Le Lion De Belfort-Paris, France." Waymarking.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
"Winged Human-Headed Bull." British Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.