Colossal statue of a winged lion from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II

Ashurnasirpal II

Ashur-nasir-pal II (transliteration: Aššur-nāṣir-apli, meaning "Ashur is guardian of the heir" [1] ) was king of Assyria from 883 to 859 BC.

Ashurnasirpal II succeeded his father, Tukulti-Ninurta II, in 883 BC. During his reign he embarked on a vast program of expansion, first conquering the peoples to the north in Asia Minor as far as Nairi and exacting tribute from Phrygia, then invading Aram (modern Syria) conquering the Aramaeans and Neo-Hittites between the Khabur and the Euphrates Rivers. His harshness prompted a revolt that he crushed decisively in a pitched, two-day battle. According to his monument inscription, while recalling this massacre he says: [2]

Their men young and old I took prisoners. Of some I cut off their feet and hands of others I cut off the ears noses and lips of the young men's ears I made a heap of the old men's heads I made a minaret. I exposed their heads as a trophy in front of their city. The male children and the female children I burned in flames the city I destroyed, and consumed with fire.

Following this victory, he advanced without opposition as far as the Mediterranean and exacted tribute from Phoenicia. On his return home, he moved his capital to the city of Kalhu (Nimrud).

Colossal statue of a winged lion from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II - History

Lamassu from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II
Donated to the University of Mosul by Factum Foundation and the British Museum

Originals in the collection of the British Museum
350 x 371 cm

Since 2004, Factum Arte and Factum Foundation have been working on a project to send facsimiles of two lamassu to Mosul in Iraq. The colossal statues were excavated in the mid-19th century on the site of ancient Nimrud, a few miles from modern Mosul, but they were shipped to London in 1852 and are now housed in the galleries of the British Museum. Although the lamassu were scanned at the British Museum in 2004, it was not until autumn 2019 that the facsimiles finally made the journey from Factum&rsquos Madrid workshops to Iraq, where they were installed at the entrance to the student centre at the University of Mosul.

From Nimrud to Bloomsbury

Lamassu are Assyrian protective deities whose hybrid bodies are part human, part bull or lion, and part bird. Mentioned in the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, they were often incorporated into monumental entrance architecture, and the two lamassu now in the British Museum originally flanked the doorway to the throne room of Ashurnasirpal II, king of Assyria from 883 to 859 BCE, in the northwest palace of his capital city at Nimrud.

Nimrud and the nearby city of Nineveh, which are both located a few kilometres away from modern Mosul, were excavated in the 1840s and 1850s, and the main finds removed from the region. The lead excavators were Austen Henry Layard, a young British archaeologist and imperial agent, and Hormuzd Rassam, the first acknowledged Assyriologist from the Ottoman Empire. Layard&rsquos initial financing came from Stratford Canning, the British ambassador to Constantinople, but following the discovery of the spectacular lamassu statues and widespread interest in the finds from the general public, the British Museum began to provide funding for the excavations, and for shipping the finds from Basra to London. An illustrated London newspaper from 1852 shows the arrival of the lamassu at the British Museum, where they caused a sensation: in 1853 The Times reported that &lsquoThe researches of Mr Layard have not only rendered Assyria an object of interest to professed antiquaries, but have actually brought it into fashion&hellip Everyone knows the form of an Assyrian monarch&rsquos umbrella, and the fashion of the Royal crown of Nineveh is as familiar as the pattern of the last new Parisian bonnet.&rsquo

Frederick Charles Cooper. Drawing showing the winged bulls found by Layard at Nimrud. Watercolour on paper, mid 19th century.

The arrival of the Assyrian sculptures at the British Museum, The Illustrated London News, 28 February 1852.

Recording and re-materialising

In 2004, Factum Arte (before the creation of Factum Foundation in 2009) recorded the original statues at the British Museum using a high-resolution NUB3D scanner. Multiple tests were also carried out to assess the precise colour and texture of the lamassu, allowing for the creation of a suitable material - stucco marble - for the making of the facsimiles.

Scanning the lamassu at the British Museum © Factum Arte

Alongside the lamassu, other reliefs from the palaces at Nimrud and Nineveh were also scanned, not only in the British Museum but also in the Pergamon Museum, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the Sackler Museum at Harvard University and the Princeton University Art Museum. These include numerous large-scale low-relief narrative scenes and even one panel designed to resemble a carpet or wall hanging. Further fragments in Iraq still remain to be recorded.

The scanned data was then processed and prepared for one of the largest high-resolution routing projects ever undertaken for conservation purposes. The data was routed in sections in high-density polyurethane, and after the different parts had been put together to verify the overall fit, silicone moulds were made of each section and the routed sculptures were cast in stucco marble. A final coat of wax completed the imitation of the original gypsum surface, bringing the colossal winged lions back to life in Factum Arte&rsquos Madrid studios.

You can read more about the 2004 scanning and rematerialisation here.

Prototype of the winged lions

Head of winged lion routed on high density polyurethane Coating the head with silicone

Various layers of silicone were applied

The head was covered with stucco The fiberglass jacket ensures the stability of the mould

Silicone mould of the Lamassu head The silicone mould

Applying a second layer of silicone

A fiberglass jacket supports the mould

Silicone with a fiberglass jacket

An interior metal structure supports each section

The facsimiles were assembled at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden for their exhibition Nineveh

Finalizing the last details

Lamassu facsimiles created for the exhibition Nineveh at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

The facsimiles installed in the exhibition Nineveh at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

The facsimile installed in the exhibition Nineveh at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

The facsimile installed for the exhibition Nineveh at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

From Madrid to Mosul - The donation of the exact facsimiles to the University of Mosul

In early 2014, Factum Foundation and the British Museum donated plaster casts of the relief panels now in the British Museum for exhibition at the Ashurbanipal Library, an ambitious new centre located next to the archaeology department of Mosul University which aims to provide a hub for the study of Iraqi history and monuments. The building is named for Ashurbanipal, a later ruler of Assyria (668-c. 630 BCE), in whose capital at Nineveh (80km upriver from Nimrud) over 30,000 cuneiform tablets and fragments were found by Layard and Rassam, and was intended to contain a museum, research centre, and several rooms for national and international symposia. Since 2002, the British Museum&rsquos Ashurbanipal Library Project has worked closely with this institution, spearheading a major effort to assemble, digitise, and translate the known texts from Nineveh, on subjects ranging from divination to administration to literature. Tragically, however, the Ashurbanipal Library suffered heavily during the occupation of Mosul by Islamic State - a disaster which resulted in the devastation of much of the city as well as the site of Nimrud itself, and as of late 2019 in the displacement of over 300,000 residents. It is hoped that work on this vital centre for Iraqi heritage will be part of the rebuilding of the city in the years ahead.

In 2017, permission was given to make a new copy of the two lamassu, this time for the exhibition &lsquoNineveh&rsquo at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden. The facsimiles were made on the understanding that after the exhibition they would be transported to Mosul as a gift to the people of Iraq, and in September 2019 the Spanish Ministry of Defense generously flew the vast statues to Baghdad. They were unveiled at the University of Mosul in October 2019, where they were installed at the entrance to the university library.

This is a project which would not have been possible without the collaboration and financial and practical support of the British Museum in London, Mosul University, the Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden, the Spanish Ministry of Defense and the Iraqi Government. All parties hope that the installation of the facsimiles will be seen as a gesture of solidarity and a sign of hope for the role that technology and cultural heritage can play in the reconstruction of the Republic of Iraq.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules used by the Spanish Air Force to fly the lamassu to Iraq

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules used by the Spanish Air Force to fly the lamassu to Iraq

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules used by the Spanish Air Force to fly the lamassu to Iraq

The pieces arriving in Baghdad in September 2019

One of the two facsimiles before the unveiling at the University of Mosul on 24th October © Adam Lowe for Factum Foundation

During the unveiling of the lamassu © Luke Tchalenko for Factum Foundation

A flamenco concert was organised by the Spanish Ambassador in Iraq, Juan José Escobar Stemmann for the unveiling of the lamassu © Luke Tchalenko for Factum Foundation

One of the two lamassu standing on either side of the entrance to the student centre © Luke Tchalenko for Factum Foundation

Sharing recording skills with Iraqi archaeologists

In addition to sending the two lamassu to Mosul, the Factum/Frontline initiative will also train local archaeologists in photogrammetry for heritage recording, providing them with the skills to record their own material culture. Luke Tchalenko has been trained as the first photojournalist able to offer such teaching, while remote support will be provided by Factum&rsquos team in Madrid.

Great thanks are due to Ali Aljuboori from the University of Mosul, Jonathan Tubb and Hartwig Fischer from the British Museum, the Spanish Ambassador to Iraq Juan José Escobar Stemmann, the Spanish Ministry of Defense, the Iraqi Government and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden.

The Factum Arte and Factum Foundation Team included Adam Lowe, Nicolas Béliard, José Menéndez Rodríguez, Luke Tchalenko, Natalia Pérez Buesa, Pepe Gómez-Acebo Botín, Francisco Regalado, Charlie Westgarth, Iván Allende Martín, Miguel Hernando Sánchez, Óscar Fernández Rodríguez, Francesco Cigognetti, Sebastián Beyro, Carolina Ruiz and Ángel Jorquera Luna

Colossal statue of a winged lion from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II - History





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Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, about 883-859 BC

Protecting the palace against demonic forces

This is one of a pair of guardian figures set up in the palace of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) at the Assyrian capital Kalhu. Its partner is now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Stone sculptures of mythological figures, sculpted in relief or in the round, were often placed as guardians at gateways to palaces and temples in ancient Mesopotamia. These figures were known to the Assyrians as lamassu. They were designed to protect the palace from demonic forces, and may even have guarded the entrance to the private apartments of the king. The figure has five legs, so that when viewed from the front it stands firm, while when viewed from the side it appears to be striding forward to combat evil. The 'Standard Inscription' of Ashurnasirpal, common to many of his reliefs, is inscribed between the figure's legs. It records the King's titles, ancestry and achievements.

The figure was excavated by Austen Henry Layard, who worked in Assyria between 1845 and 1851. He suggested that these composite creatures combined the strength of the lion (or in this case, the bull), the swiftness of birds indicated by the wings, and the intelligence of the human head. The helmet with horns indicates the creature's divinity.


The palace reliefs were fixed to the walls of royal palaces forming continuous strips along the walls of large halls. The style apparently began after about 879 BC, when Ashurnasirpal II moved the capital to Nimrud, near modern Mosul in northern Iraq. [10] Thereafter, new royal palaces, of which there was typically one per reign, were extensively decorated in this way for the roughly 250 years until the end of the Assyrian Empire. [11] There was subtle stylistic development, but a very large degree of continuity in subjects and treatment. [12]

Compositions are arranged on slabs, or orthostats, typically about 7 feet high, using between one and three horizontal registers of images, with scenes generally reading from left to right. The sculptures are often accompanied with inscriptions in cuneiform script, explaining the action or giving the name and extravagant titles of the king. [13] Heads and legs are shown in profile, but torsos in a front or three-quarters view, as in earlier Mesopotamian art. [14] Eyes are also largely shown frontally. Some panels show only a few figures at close to life-size, such scenes usually including the king and other courtiers, [15] but depictions of military campaigns include dozens of small figures, as well as many animals and attempts at showing landscape settings.

Campaigns focus on the progress of the army, including the fording of rivers, and usually culminates in the siege of a city, followed by the surrender and paying of tribute, and the return of the army home. A full and characteristic set shows the campaign leading up to the siege of Lachish in 701 it is the "finest" from the reign of Sennacherib, from his palace at Nineveh and now in the British Museum. [16] Ernst Gombrich observed that none of the many casualties ever come from the Assyrian side. [17] Another famous sequence there shows the Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal, in fact the staged and ritualized killing by King Ashurbanipal of lions already captured and released into an arena, from the North Palace at Nineveh. The realism of the lions has always been praised, and the scenes are often regarded as "the supreme masterpieces of Assyrian art", although the pathos modern viewers tend to feel was perhaps not part of the Assyrian response. [18]

There are many reliefs of minor supernatural beings, called by such terms as "winged genie", but the major Assyrian deities are only represented by symbols. The "genies" often perform a gesture of purification, fertilization or blessing with a bucket and cone the meaning of this remains unclear., [19] Especially on larger figures, details and patterns on areas such as costumes, hair and beards, tree trunks and leaves, and the like, are very meticulously carved. More important figures are often shown larger than others, and in landscapes more distant elements are shown higher up, but not smaller than, those in the foreground, though some scenes have been interpreted as using scale to indicate distance. Other scenes seem to repeat a figure in a succession of different moments, performing the same action, most famously a charging lion. But these were apparently experiments that remain unusual. [20]

The king is often shown in narrative scenes, and also as a large standing figure in a few prominent places, generally attended by winged genies. A composition repeated twice in what is traditionally called the "throne-room" (though perhaps it was not) of Ashurbanipal's palace at Nimrud shows a "Sacred Tree" or "Tree of Life" flanked by two figures of the king, with winged genies using the bucket and cone behind him. Above the tree one of the major gods, perhaps Ashur the chief god, leans out of a winged disc, relatively small in scale. Such scenes are shown elsewhere on the robe of the king, no doubt reflecting embroidery on the real costumes, and the major gods are normally shown in discs or purely as symbols hovering in the air. Elsewhere the tree is often attended to by genies. [21]

Women are relatively rarely shown, and then usually as prisoners or refugees an exception is a "picnic" scene showing Ashurbanipal with his queen. [22] The many beardless royal attendants can probably be assumed to be eunuchs, who ran much of the administration of the empire, unless they also have the shaved heads and very tall hats of priests. [23] Kings are often accompanied by several courtiers, the closest to the king probably often being the appointed heir, who was not necessarily the oldest son. [24]

The enormous scales of the palace schemes allowed narratives to be shown at an unprecedentedly expansive pace, making the sequence of events clear and allowing richly detailed depictions of the activities of large numbers of figures, not to be paralleled until the Roman narrative column reliefs of the Column of Trajan and Column of Marcus Aurelius. [25]

Colossal statue of a winged lion from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II - History

As I was leaving the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA, or The Met) on a Sunday afternoon in July, I followed the line of people waiting to get into the Alexander McQueen exhibition. The line ran the entire length of the corridor of the 19th century galleries, took a left turn where it continued through the enfilade of Near Eastern galleries and ended somewhere on the mezzanine balcony. It was 3:45, and I doubted everyone would get inside the exhibition, much less have time to see it properly. Now, the McQueen exhibition was spectacular – literally and figuratively – but there’s an awful lot of extraordinary art in the Met that’s overlooked – and for no reason. I suspect that if much of it were packaged as Splendors of the Medieval Collection, or Wonders of the South Pacific, they too would draw crowds. Which inspired me to start an occasional series titled One Work Worth the Trip I think the name explains itself. So, for an overlooked wonder at the Met I suggest this small but powerful earth mother:

‘Standing Female Figure Wearing a Strap and a Necklace’ South Arabian(3rd-2nd millenium B.C.) sandstone, 27 x 14.3 x 14.3cm, MMA

I admit that until now, I too, had overlooked this Bronze Age beauty from the land of frankincense and myrrh (modern Yemen and Oman), dressed in something less than a bikini. This five thousand year old statue speaks of the essential role of fertility, and if she wasn’t used to invoke human fertility (those hips are certainly built for childbirth), she speaks of the association of female fertility with that of crops. Based on her weight, this figure would likely have been made to stand in a specific place, unlike the similarly-buxomVenus of Willendorf (now dated to 30,000-25,000 B.C.) in the Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna, which at 11 cm, fits perfectly in the palm of a hand.

We may never know much about this figure’s function or meaning objects from pre-literate cultures are largely questions without answers. Still, this small and restrained figure retains great power, even after five millenia. Viewers who admire Brancusi’s Kiss will be taken with the abstracted forms of her body that still clearly retain the initial shape of the stone how much the carver did with so little.

Definitely worth the trip.

I was trying to figure out how to direct viewers to the figure. The Met’s rooms are numbered on the museum’s map, but if there were numbers in the galleries, they escaped me. Then I realized that the room was adjacent to the gallery that leads to the great reliefs from Nimrud. I thought, how could I pass them over? I couldn’t. Flexibility is a virtue, so the initial One Work Worth the Trip includes two.

Reliefs from the palace at Nimrud, (c. 883-859 B.C.) gypsum alabaster, 92 1/4 x 92 x 4 1/2 in, MMA

Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883–859 B.C.) was one of the dynasty of Assyrian kings who ruled the Middle East from territory centered in Northern Iraq. Above are two from a gallery at the MMA entirely surrounded by reliefs from the palace Ashurnasirpal II built at his new capital at Nimrud (which had been an outpost until his building campaign). The king is second from the right, performing a ritual with his attendants. Texts running across the figures describe the palace in the first person of the king, with comments such as: Beasts of the mountains and the seas, which I had fashioned out of white limestone and alabaster, I had set up in its gates. I made the palace fittingly imposing. The human-headed bull, below, and his double would have guarded a palace door.

Human-headed winged bull and winged lion (lamassu) from Nimrud (ca. 883–859 B.C.) gypsum alabaster,10𔃽 ½”, MMA

The British Museum also has reliefs and guardian figures from Ashurnasirpal’s palace, and from those of later Assyrian kings. The museum’s website is a great resource for background information on Assyrian history, culture, and artifacts part of the site is billed as The ultimate guide to the Ancient Near East on the Internet. I have no way of testing that claim.

Relief from the palace at Nimrud, (c. 883-859 B.C.), gypsum alabaster, British Museum, London

The reliefs in London attract a lot of attention, so it’s a mystery to me that those in New York are ignored. I spoke with a guard about it (he was an illustrator himself, and paid attention) he said no one spent much time looking at the reliefs, but people did use them as a site for taking photographs. Art as photo op will be the subject of a later post.

If the visual expression of power is of interest, I think the Assyrians beat anything done by the Egyptians. They fully understood the political significance of imagery. I find that these reliefs invoke the aspirations of real absolute rulers – their accomplishments, violence, self-promotion and tyranny. Which can’t help reminding me of Shelley’s great meditation on such images of power, Ozymandias:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

ashurnasirpal ii, assyria, brancusi, british museum, bronze age, expression of power, female fertility figure, metropolitan museum of art, naturhistorisches museum vienna, nimrud, northern iraq, ozymandias, percy bysshe shelley, shelley, south arabian, south arabian bronze age, venus of willendorf


Iconography of Deities and Demons (IDD).

Apkallu (continued).

“The deities Ea, Damkina, Gula, Enlil, Adad, Marduk, Nabu, and Gerra were all called “sage of the gods” in texts on particular occasions the link with Ea is apparent for type 2 from 40, 47–48, and with Marduk and Nabu from 63. A link between type 2 and the moon god Sin is shown on 45 and probably with Adad on 15*.

Apkallu type 1, Illustration 15, Stephanie Dalley, IDD.
Four beardless umu-apkallu flank a fifth bearded one wearing the horned tiara indicative of divinity. Apkallu are often portrayed wearing this crown, but this illustration may be unique with just one.
The two bottom apkallu hold mullilu and banduddu in their appropriate hands, while the central apkallu holds what appear to be poppy bulbs.

Exceptional people such as Sennacherib, his wife Naqia, and their grandson Assurbanipal were called sage, a./apkallatu, whether as flattery or as a result of specific circumstances.

A 7th century queen of Arabia was also given the title of sage, perhaps related to the meaning of the cognate as a type of priest in early Arabia (BORGER 1957). This may be linked to the appearance of unbearded type 1 sages whose garments differ from those of bearded sages (1*–2, 27–30).

Apkallu type 1, illustration 1, Stephanie Dalley, IDD.
Stephanie Dalley’s “beardless” type 1 apkallu. Aside from being beardless, these feminized apkallu wear atypical necklaces and hold what appear to be looped stones or prayer beads in their left hands.
Typical rosette bracelets adorn their wrists, and they wear armlets at the elbow as is common.
Both umu-apkallu wear the horned tiara indicative of divinity, as they salute a sacred tree in its prototypical configuration.

One of the questions relevant for the three iconographic types of sages is whether they refer to categories of sage related to different periods in time – preflood, intermediate (i.e., ZiusudraAtrahasis who lived through the flood), and postflood or to different functions such as writers of medical texts or court wisdom or whether chronological and/or regional traditions account for different types and associations.

II. Typology

1. HUMAN-FIGURED Apkallu (1–39)

Apkallu type 1, illustration 6, Stephanie Dalley, IDD.
This classical depiction of an umu-apkallu includes the mullilu in the raised right hand in the gesture of blessing or exorcism and the banduddu bucket in the left hand.
The horned tiara indicative of divinity may reflect the semi-divine status of the apkallu.
Armlets at the elbow are present, as are wristbands with the typical rosette pattern.

2. FISH-CLOAK Apkallu (12, 33–35, 40–66)

Apkallu type 2, illustration 33, Stephanie Dalley, IDD.
This puradu-fish apkallu on the left holds the banduddu bucket in his left hand.
The central figure appears to be a type 1 umu-apkallu, holding the reins to a winged conveyance.
I am unsure of the right side figures, as they both lack horned headdresses indicative of divinity and they stand on the ground, rather than on animals.

3. BIRD-OF-PREY-HEADED Apkallu (6–7, 21, 36, 39, 67–80)

Apkallu type 3, illustration 36 (detail) Stephanie Dalley, IDD.
The bird-headed type 3 Nisroc apkallu is on the right, with banduddu bucket in the left hand and an indistinct item in his raised right hand.
The figure on the left lacks wings, though it mimics the blessing gesture and the banduddu bucket of the right-side apkallu. The left side figure may not be an apkallu at all. Perhaps it is a priest. Or a human umu-apkallu. It lacks all symbols of divinity or semi-divinity.
The central figure is problematic for me, wearing a crown which reminds me of a depiction of the god Anu. The problem is that Assyriologists aver that no representations of Anu exist.
Like the atypical illustration below, this one wears a large ring around the torso. This figure also holds a ring in his left hand, raising his right hand in the classical gesture of greeting.

This design is perplexing. I am uncertain whether it depicts a human apkallū, an ummanu, or, as earlier analysts speculated, the god Anu. The problem is that Assyriologists assert that Anu is never represented in illustrations or bas reliefs.
The iconography is correct for an apkallū. The horned headdress is indicative of divinity, the plants held in both hands are not unprecedented, though they are not common. I believe that they are poppy bulbs.
The rosette design in the large ring appears elsewhere in Neo-Assyrian symbolism, though its significance is undetermined. The large ring around the torso appears around the central figure in illustration 36 above, as well.
The wings on the figure are typical of an apkallu.
The fact that the figure stands on a bull, however, suggests that this is a depiction of a deity, rather than a human apkallū.
Further, the disc atop the headdress is problematic. In no other example does a human apkallū appear with a disc surmounting a horned headdress. The device at the top of the figure in illustration 36 above resembles this one.
Indeed, it is unclear whether the disc is just worn, or whether the lower part of the disc portrays the inverted horns of the Moon, indicative of the Moon god Sin. Or, it could just be a damaged ring, similar to the device in illustration 36 above.
This is one of the most dramatic examples of Neo-Assyrian art, but my scholarship is too meager to explicate it.


GENERAL REMARKS. No single image definitively represents the sages. However, three main types can be distinguished: the human-figured, winged Apkallu (type 1) the fish-cloaked (type 2) and the bird-headed, winged Apkallu (type 3). (As portrayed above and depicted below).

The three types of apkallū are portrayed, with the human ummânū at far left, the Nisroc bird-apkallū type in the middle, and the antediluvian purādu-fish type at far right.
The human ummânū is attested in the Uruk List of Kings and Sages, while other references to bird-apkallū are legion, as documented in Wiggermann and other authorities.
The purādu-fish apkallū is principally attested in Berossus, though other authorities confirm them, as well.
The anthropomorphic qualities of the purādu-fish and the Nisroc apkallu remain unexplained, though the eagle is sacred to Enki / Ea.

They have been identified chiefly on the basis of iconographic similarities but also because of evidence in inscriptions (WIGGERMANN 1992: passim) and in Berossos’ account.

The commonest pose is that of a standing figure holding his left hand forward or downward, while his right hand is raised. When mirror-image pairs are found, left and right are reversed.

All three types are commonly found with the downward hand holding a bucket/situla (3, 5–6*, 10*–16, 21–22, 23–26, 28–30, 33*–36*, 39*– 55*, 60, 62*–63, 67, 70).

This detailed portrayal of the banduddu bucket is from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud.
British Museum ANE 124564. Photograph by Mehmet-Ali Atac, The Mythology of Kingship in Neo-Assyrian Art, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 100.

Most frequently when the left hand carries a bucket, the raised right hand holds a cone (6*, 10*–11, 15*–16, 21–22, 23–24, 26, 28–29, 38–39*, 42*–43, 62*, 70), whose precise function is not certain (WIGGERMANN 1992: 67), but the raised hand may also be empty (not often clear on seals and seal impressions, clear on 5, 13–14*, 77).

This ummânū uniquely presents with a feather in the raised right hand, and a kid goat held in the left.
I am unaware of any other depiction like this one.
The bracelets of rosette design appear bilaterally on both wrists, as do bracelets around the upper arms.
The tassels are finely detailed, and a tassel can be discerned on the ummânū’s upper back.
This depiction is also perhaps unique in the degree of fine detail lavished on the wings, and on the fringe of the garment.
This ummânū also wears a headband with the rosette design, rather than the horned tiara.

Less often types 1 and 3 hold in one hand or the other a sprig (9*, 12*, 17–18, 20, 31–32, 39*), a mace (4, 20), or a stag (1 8 ).

Furthermore, the bearded Apkallus of type 1 normally, and type 3 often, wear a kilt of above-the-knee length with a tasseled fringe and a full-length cutaway robe or skirt, which leaves the forward leg bare from the knee downward (3, 5–18, 20– 23, 25–27, 29, 35–36*, 39*, 68*– 6 9 ).

This detailed portrayal of the rosette bracelets is from Panel 12, Room G, Northwest Palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. Armlets are visible at the elbow.
This photograph is from Mehmet-Ali Atac, The Mythology of Kingship in Neo-Assyrian Art, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 110.
British Museum ANE 124568.

On detailed representations of types 1 and 3, two daggers and a whetstone are usually tucked into the waist (1*, 6*, 17, 20, 22, 26, 39*).

They wear a pair of bracelets with a rosette at each wrist (1*, 6*, 10*, 16–18, 20, 22, 26), a spiral armlet just above the elbow (6*, 17 ), and sometimes a single-stranded necklace (6*, 10*, 17–18, 20, 22, 39*) with up to eight (?) pendants (1*–2).

This illustration depicts girdle knives and what is alleged to be a stylized whetstone.
This photograph is from p. 110, Mehmet-Ali Atac, The Mythology of Kingship in Neo-Assyrian Art, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Types 1 and 3 appear more frequently than type 2 in mirror-image pairs on either side of a stylized sacred tree (1*, 7, 13, 24, 29, 39*), a god (15*, 69), or a king (6 8*). Types 1 and 2 appear together on 12*, 33*–34, and 38. Types 1 and 3 appear together on 7, 21, and 36*.

Stephanie Dalley, “Apkallu,” Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Ancient Near East (IDD), Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Zurich, 2011 (text updated 2011 and illustrations updated 2007), p. 2/7.