Assyrian stone relief slabs from Sennacherib's Palace in Iraq may have been smuggled from the country and sold on

Professor John Malcolm Russell's personal connection to the objects left him well placed to recognise them in images from sales


This Assyrian stone relief from the throne-room suite of Sennacherib’s Palace in Nineveh, Iraq, was part of a decorative cycle of 100 seventh-century BC slabs preserved in situ and recorded by Professor John Malcolm Russell of Columbia University in 1990. Professor Russell was recently shown photographs of three Assyrian reliefs that have appeared on the market and has identified them as slabs that he documented at Nineveh. It is unclear where these slabs are now or whether other slabs from the site museum are on the market as the illegal exportation of looted antiquities from Iraq continues in the wake of the Gulf War.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'From Nineveh, Iraq: stolen and sold?'