(b) Sculptures, Bas-Reliefs
Were our knowledge limited to these and a few similar remains, we should have to form but a poor idea of Assyrian art. But the sculptures have revealed to us a degree of refinement which had been previously looked for only in Greece. These sculptures lined the sides of the halls to a height of 10 feet. In them we see columns with both base and capital, and surmounted by entablatures. Sometimes the columns are combined with pilasters, as in the Greek porticos in antis. In one specimen the columns were carried on the back of bulls, as is shown by one of the bas-reliefs, and, more conclusively still, by the beautiful small model of a winged bull brought to England by Mr. George Smith, which has carved upon its back a base, just as is shown on the slabs.
In these bas-reliefs we have further- 1. The façade of a palace, having at top a grand row of window openings divided by Ionic columns; 2. A small building on the banks of arrive, having two columns with bases and a kind if Ionic capitals, between two plain pilasters, and with rude indications of a cornice; 3. Another facade of two columns, with bases, and Corinthian capitals, between two pilasters, likewise with capitals. Over these is an entablature, somewhat rudely worked, but clearly showing architrave, frieze, and cornice, and antefixae over. The latest of these slabs must have been carved many years before the earliest date assigned to any known Greek work. In view of these and similar remains the following words of Niebuhr are memorable: - "There is a want in Grecian art which no man living can supply. There is not enough in Egypt to account for the peculiar art and mythology of Greece. But those who live after me will see on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates the origin of Grecian mythology and art."
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