COLLECTIONS > Gallery Picks > Cuneiform inscription

Cuneiform inscription

Written in stone

cuneiform tablet

Large Assyrian stone bas-relief with inscription in cuneiform or wedge-shaped letters. It once decorated the walls of the palace of Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC) at Nimrud (Kalhu) in northern Iraq. The inscription lists the king’s titles. Cuneiform writing involved pressing the triangular point of a reed into soft clay to create signs or letters. Carving such lettering into the surface of hard stone must have been challenging for the stonemason. The winged deity or genie may represent fertility.