Ashurnasirpal II and a Winged Deity, Northern Iraq, Nimrud, 9th century BC. Gypseous alabaster sculpture. Ashur-nasir-pal II was king of Assyria from 883 to 859 BC. The palaces, temples and other buildings raised by Ashurnasirpal II bear witness to a considerable development of wealth and art. He was renowned for his brutality, using enslaved captives to build a new Assyrian capital at Kalhu (Nimrud) in Mesopotamia where he built many impressive monuments. He was also a shrewd administrator who realized that he could gain greater control over his empire by installing Assyrian governors rather than depending on local client rulers paying tribute. He conquered the Hittites and Aramaean states of northern Syria. Relief, or relievo rilievo, is a sculptural technique. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane.
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