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Asia Has Claims Upon New England: Assyrian Reliefs at Yale by Sam Harrelson

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Asia Has Claims Upon New England: Assyrian Reliefs at Yale by Sam Harrelson

8vo. pp. 42. profusely illustrated. paperback. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, [2006].

New.

Out-of-print.

ISBN-10: 0894679651 / ISBN-13: 9780894679650

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This accompanying text to the Yale University Art Gallery’s famed Assyrian reliefs details the 19th-century American frenzy for reliefs taken from Assurnasirpal II’s magnificent palace in Kalhu near the Tigris River. The discovery of the palace by the British in 1845 captured the Victorian public’s imagination, leading to the discovery of other architectural sites and the deciphering of the Assyrian language. Soon, American missionaries sought to procure artifacts for their alma maters, most often coveting reliefs that were religious in content. William Frederic Williams was one such missionary and former Yale faculty member. He, along with Yale Medical School graduate Henry Lobel, secured six slabs from Assurnasirpal’s palace, which were divided up between Yale, Amherst, and Union Seminary in Utica. Harrelson analyzes at length the two reliefs obtained by Yale. He touches on the technical aspects of the materials as well as the reliefs’ religious iconography, situating them within the palace as a whole.