The Lost Object

The lost object that I focused on for this assignment is the Winged Bull of Nineveh. Nineveh served as the capital of the Syrian Empire that is now located in northern Iraq. This considerably large 2,700-year-old sculpture guarded the gates of Nineveh. This artifact acts to serve two purposes the first one being to protect and scare off any unwanted people or spirits and to serve as a welcome to people who choose to enter. The Winged Bull is additionally one of the most iconic features of ancient architecture. The figure is described as the body of a bull with wings of an eagle and the head of a man, also known as a composite creature.

The artist for this magnificent piece of artwork is still unknown, but it is to be believed that at this time the ruler was a king known as Sennacherib, and he is remembered for his military attacks against Babylon and Judah. The king was the one to have demanded the structure to be created to display his power and wealth. The beard on the bull was added to the face to show the intelligence to the figure. The artifact was made from a slab of limestone and serves as a relief statue. One of the local female architects in Iraq discovered that scratch marks seemed to have been found at the base of the bull made by generations of ancient soldiers playing a game. She says this gives the bull the "human touch." Meaning that even back in ancient times people still liked to have a good time and enjoy little things such as games to pass the time, and this game is similar to what Mosul people still play to this day called Dana.

This monument was recently defaced by militants from the Islamic community in February of 2015. They gouged out the eyes of the bull and destroyed many items of importance in the city. One historian from the podcast seemed to believe that the militants did this to demolish the image of the king, and this behavior can track back to ancient times when armies engaged in ritualized vandalism to destroy the image of the king.

The importance of this artifact is that it was sentimental to the local people and families there. They lost a very valuable artifact that was close to all of them in different ways. The city of Nineveh is significant because it can be found in the Old Testament in relativity to the migrations of humans in earlier times. The local consequences are of course that the people lost a very important part of their heritage and who they are, and they will never be able to get that back because of the horrible acts of the Islamic group (ISIS) who destroyed those artifacts. ISIS is a group that only destroys specific objects when it is very important to other people and other cultures as well. From the destruction of this artifact, the people located around the area and people all over the world lost a piece of history that we can never get back.


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