Ashurbanipal, P.T. Barnum, Royal Eunuchs, and Fat-tailed Sheep: The Surprising Journey of a Fragmentary Sculpture from Ancient Mesopotamia to the Arizona State Museum

Ashurbanipal, P.T. Barnum, Royal Eunuchs, and Fat-tailed Sheep: The Surprising Journey of a Fragmentary Sculpture from Ancient Mesopotamia to the Arizona State Museum

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

 

a presentation by Dr. Irene Bald Romano, curator of Mediterranean archaeology, professor of art history, anthropology, and affiliated faculty in the department of religious studies and classics; and Gina Watkinson, manager of the ASM conservation laboratory
6:00-7:00 p.m. Arizona time, via Zoom
FREE

The Arizona State Museum, the premier museum devoted to the archaeology and ethnology of the American Southwest and northern Mexico, seems a very unlikely home for a fragment of a Neo-Assyrian relief panel from King Ashurbanipal’s 7th century B.C.E. North Palace at Nineveh in ancient Mesopotamia. This fragment is unknown in the corpus of Assyrian sculpture. Its journey is complex and not fully understood, but its possible association with the circus impresario Phineas Taylor (“P.T.”) Barnum (1810-1891) is a compelling aspect of its “biography.” Fat-tailed sheep, royal eunuchs, 19th century explorers in the Ottoman-controlled region of today’s northern Iraq, missionaries in the Middle East, Universalism, The British Museum, and Tufts College are also part of the story that will be unraveled in this presentation.

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