Assyrian Lion Hunt Reliefs

One of the most striking displays in the British Museum
are the Assyrian Lion Hunt Reliefs

These reliefs depicts the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal 668-631 BC
and were created for his palace at Nineveh (in modern-day northern Iraq)

Although brutal to watch with our sensibilities the artistic quality
of the reliefs cannot be denied.

The Lion Hunt reliefs are praised for their life like depiction of the Lions

Ashurbanipal was a popular leader with his own people but terribly brutal
to his enemies and was involved in many battles. He reigned for 42
years but left an empire in decline

Although the impression is given that these hunts took place in the wild,
in fact the lions had already been captured and were dispached
by the King in the arena. It is also thought that the reliefs are
a slight exaggeration over what really occurred