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Shamash Relief with Double Apkallu and Sacred Tree

King Ashurnasirpal appears twice, dressed in ritual robes and holding the mace symbolising authority. In front of him there is a Sacred Tree, possibly symbolising life, and he makes a gesture of worship to a god in a winged disc. The god, who may be the sun god Shamash, has a ring in one hand; this is an ancient Mesopotamian symbol of god-given kingship. There are protective spirits on either side behind the king. This symmetrical scene, heavy with symbolism, was placed behind the royal throne. There was another opposite the main door of the throne room, and similar scenes occupied prominent positions in other Assyrian palaces; they were also embroidered on the royal clothes.

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