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How to Spot Assyrian Antique Furniture

Jun 7, 2008
Assyrian art was similar in style to Babylonian art. The best known surviving examples are sculptures and wall decorations in bas-relief, and colossal stone winged lions or bulls that guarded the entrances to palaces and other buildings.

Assyrian furniture was also designed with animal shapes. Mainly of bulls, lions, and rams heads. Wood and metal sofas and tables inlaid with ivory were most common.

The earliest Assyrian chair was made without a back, and the legs terminated in lion's feet or bull's hoofs.

Some Assyrian chairs were of gold and others of silver and bronze. On the monuments of Khorsabad, some chairs were discovered to be supported by animals, and by human figures, probably those of prisoners.

In the British Museum is a bronze throne, which was found amidst the rains of Nimrod's palace, which details an ability of the highest order for skilled metal work.

Nimrod was the son of Cush and the great-grandson of Noah. He was a mighty hunter and one of the first to rule over a great empire after the Flood. Nimrod became King of Babylon and South Mesopotamia. He also ruled over Assyria, where he founded Nineveh.

Nineveh is located East of Tigris and was the site of royal residences from c.11c BC. Nineveh fell in 612 BC to the Medes and Persians. Its royal libraries contain thousands of clay tablets, which are a valuable source for Mesopotamian history.

Portions of a crystal throne were found close to the site of Nineveh in the nineteenth century. They were somewhat similar in design to the bronze designed Assyrian chairs.

The private dwellings for the wives and families of kings would have entrances shaped by bunches of square columns, and alcoves in rooms with the same design. Walls had horizontal stripes in bright colours and panelled with small stone slabs.

An elaborate piece of carved ivory which once formed part of the inlaid ornament of a throne, was found in Nineveh. This priceless piece of antique furniture contains depressions to hold coloured glass, etc. It can be seen in the British Museum and shows how richly such objects were ornamented.

Authorities believe this carving to be of Egyptian origin. Figures made by the Assyrians were more clumsy and more rigid, and their furniture generally more massive than that of the Egyptians.

It is unlikely you will find Assyrian antique furniture going for a bargain. However, you never know your luck. It's amazing the number of people who throw out furniture they think is unsightly. Then some lucky person picks it up for a bargain and sells for a lot of money.

Those relevant observations should make you aware of how to spot Assyrian antique furniture.
About the Author
Robert McMurtrie of HK Antiques. Visit HK Antiques at: http://www.hk-antiques.com/
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