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21 September 2010

See a Neo-Assyrian winged man-bull

The British Museum is full of unusual treasures, and lurking in Room 10 is an intriguing statue of a winged bull with the face of a man. It which once stood at the Palace of Sargon II, in Khorsabad, in modern-day Iraq. It was probably installed between 710-705 BC and is one of a pair of such beasts which once flanked an entrance to the Assyrian king's citadel.

At sixteen tons each, the statues are amongst the heaviest items in the Museum and were discovered by French archaeologist Paul-Emile Botta in the 1840s, but were deemed too heavy to move by the French, and left behind following the excavation. .In 1849 Henry Rawlinson, a British resident in Baghdad, arranged to buy them from the French consul, and cut them up into pieces to transport them.

For more, see http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/c/colossal_winged_bull.aspx

^Picture copyright Gaspa, under Creative Commons^


  1. A curious thing about these beasts is that they have five legs each!