Ornamental Wall Painting in the Art of the Assyrian Empire


This study brings together the archaeological record and the pictorial documentation of ornamental wall painting produced in Assyria, from the thirteenth to the seventh centuries B.C. Nimrud, Khorsabad, Til Barsip, and Tell Sheikh Hamad, are among the ancient sites where impressive wall paintings were discovered; unfortunately most of these discoveries now exist in drawings and photographs only.
Ornamental wall painting created a colorful and meaningful visual impact to the rooms of residences belonging to the Assyrian kings. The assembled material demonstrates that the polychrome and black-and-white decorated bands of geometric, floral, figural, and animal motifs were arranged into a variety of formulaic designs. Particular attention is given to the changing trends in the selection and combination of motifs, some of which had symbolic meaning. The chronology of the wall paintings at Til Barsip and the accompanying discussion of textile patterns are of special interest to the art historian. This book illustrates the ornamental wall paintings as recorded in the excavation reports.

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Pauline Albenda, Ph.D. (1969), in Art history and Archaeology, Columbia University. She is an Art Historian and Educator. Her many articles on Assyrian art have appeared in academic journals, and she has authored Monumental Art of the Assyrian Empire: Dynamics of Composition Styles (Undena, 1998).
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