Pinecone or date palm male inflorescence – metaphorical pollination in Assyrian art

in Israel Journal of Plant Sciences
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The following contribution focuses on Assyrian stone reliefs depicting winged figures holding a bucket and reaching a cone-shaped object toward a stylized tree. Ever since the discovery of the reliefs, the cone-shaped object was considered as either a conifer cone or a date palm male inflorescence used in the symbolic pollination of the stylized tree, derived from the date palm. Utilizing the visual material combined with textual evidence and based on the importance of the date palm as economic resource that gave rise to a plethora of meanings, religious, royal and popular, I shall argue that the scene refers to the artificial pollination of the tree.

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