Royal Lion Hunt (detail), Assyrian, 875–860 BC, Kalhu (Nimrud), Northwest Palace, reign of Ashurnasirpal II, gypsum. British Museum, London, 1849,1222.8, 1849. Image © The Trustees of the British Museum. All rights reserved Royal Lion Hunt (detail), Assyrian, 875–860 BC, Kalhu (Nimrud), Northwest Palace, reign of Ashurnasirpal II, gypsum. British Museum, London, 1849,1222.8, 1849. Image © The Trustees of the British Museum. All rights reserved

Assyrian kings in the ninth to seventh centuries BC decorated their palaces with masterful relief sculptures that represent a high point of Mesopotamian art, both for their artistic quality and sophistication and for their vivid depictions of warfare, rituals, mythology, hunting, and other aspects of Assyrian court life. The importance of these ancient treasures has only increased with the recent destruction, by ISIS, of many of the reliefs that remained in Iraq.

The masterworks in this exhibition are on special loan from the British Museum, London.

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