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Neo-Assyrian Sacred Tree and Grape vines ?

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  • wrwmattfeld
    When excavations uncovered Assyrian palaces in the 19th century some scholars suggested that the sacred trees being adored by the Assyrian kings might be
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 6, 2006
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      When excavations uncovered Assyrian palaces in the 19th century some
      scholars suggested that the "sacred trees" being adored by the
      Assyrian kings might be behind the Garden of Eden's Tree of Life.
      One thing that has always puzzeled me was the intricate vine tendril
      motif surrounding these highly stylized date-palms (?).

      Just recently, I came across a statement made by Gertrude Bell
      (1916) that might shed light on this enigma. She noted that the
      Arabs along the Euphrates had their datepalms "wreathed" in grape
      vines which were at that time of year heavily laden with grapes.
      Could it be that the Neo-Assyrian "Sacred Tree" with a vine design
      about it is recalling ancient horticultural practices of wreathing
      grapevines about datepalms ?

      For a drawing of such a tree cf. the below url:

      http://www.bibleorigins.net/Sacredtreeassyrian.html

      Regards, Walter
      Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
      mattfeld12@...
    • paulina albenda
      Years ago I wrote an article on the subject of grapvines vetted to a tree, on the reliefs of Ashurbanipal: Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 10, 2006
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        Years ago I wrote an article on the subject of grapvines vetted to a tree, on the reliefs of Ashurbanipal: Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 215 (1974). It is the earliest known representation of this technique. The trees in those scenes are not 'sacred trees' - a different motif. Moreover, the trees with the twisted grapevines are pine trees. I hope this helps. Pauline Albenda NYC

        wrwmattfeld <mattfeld12@...> wrote: When excavations uncovered Assyrian palaces in the 19th century some
        scholars suggested that the "sacred trees" being adored by the
        Assyrian kings might be behind the Garden of Eden's Tree of Life.
        One thing that has always puzzeled me was the intricate vine tendril
        motif surrounding these highly stylized date-palms (?).

        Just recently, I came across a statement made by Gertrude Bell
        (1916) that might shed light on this enigma. She noted that the
        Arabs along the Euphrates had their datepalms "wreathed" in grape
        vines which were at that time of year heavily laden with grapes.
        Could it be that the Neo-Assyrian "Sacred Tree" with a vine design
        about it is recalling ancient horticultural practices of wreathing
        grapevines about datepalms ?

        For a drawing of such a tree cf. the below url:

        http://www.bibleorigins.net/Sacredtreeassyrian.html

        Regards, Walter
        Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
        mattfeld12@...






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      • palbenda
        ... a tree, on the reliefs of Ashurbanipal: Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 215 (1974). It is the earliest known representation of this
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 10, 2006
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          --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, paulina albenda <palbenda@...> wrote:
          >
          > Years ago I wrote an article on the subject of grapvines vetted to
          a tree, on the reliefs of Ashurbanipal: Bulletin of the American
          Schools of Oriental Research 215 (1974). It is the earliest known
          representation of this technique. The trees in those scenes are
          not 'sacred trees' - a different motif. Moreover, the trees with the
          twisted grapevines are pine trees. I hope this helps. Pauline
          Albenda NYC
          >

          My error on "vetted" I meant "wedded". A good survey book on flora in
          Assyrian art is Erika Bleibtreu, Die Flora der neuassyrischen
          Reliefs. (Wien, 1980). Includes bibliography. P. A.


          > wrwmattfeld <mattfeld12@...> wrote: When excavations
          uncovered Assyrian palaces in the 19th century some
          > scholars suggested that the "sacred trees" being adored by the
          > Assyrian kings might be behind the Garden of Eden's Tree of Life.
          > One thing that has always puzzeled me was the intricate vine
          tendril
          > motif surrounding these highly stylized date-palms (?).
          >
          > Just recently, I came across a statement made by Gertrude Bell
          > (1916) that might shed light on this enigma. She noted that the
          > Arabs along the Euphrates had their datepalms "wreathed" in grape
          > vines which were at that time of year heavily laden with grapes.
          > Could it be that the Neo-Assyrian "Sacred Tree" with a vine design
          > about it is recalling ancient horticultural practices of wreathing
          > grapevines about datepalms ?
          >
          > For a drawing of such a tree cf. the below url:
          >
          > http://www.bibleorigins.net/Sacredtreeassyrian.html
          >
          > Regards, Walter
          > Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
          > mattfeld12@...
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ---------------------------------
          > Do you Yahoo!?
          > Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail Beta.
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Robert Whiting
          ... One can also profitably consult Helene Kantor s 1945 dissertation Plant Ornament: Its Origin and Development in the Ancient Near East , available online
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 11, 2006
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            On Mon, 10 Jul 2006, palbenda wrote:

            > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, paulina albenda <palbenda@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > Years ago I wrote an article on the subject of grapvines vetted to
            > a tree, on the reliefs of Ashurbanipal: Bulletin of the American
            > Schools of Oriental Research 215 (1974). It is the earliest known
            > representation of this technique. The trees in those scenes are
            > not 'sacred trees' - a different motif. Moreover, the trees with the
            > twisted grapevines are pine trees. I hope this helps. Pauline
            > Albenda NYC
            > >
            >
            > My error on "vetted" I meant "wedded". A good survey book on flora in
            > Assyrian art is Erika Bleibtreu, Die Flora der neuassyrischen
            > Reliefs. (Wien, 1980). Includes bibliography. P. A.

            One can also profitably consult Helene Kantor's 1945 dissertation
            "Plant Ornament: Its Origin and Development in the Ancient Near East",
            available online at <http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/DEPT/RA/HJK/HJKIntro.html>.
            See in particular Chapter 18, "Late Assyrian Ornament"
            <http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/DEPT/RA/HJK/HJKXVIII.pdf>

            In any case, the "sacred tree" is a highly stylized Neo-Assyrian icon and
            differs extensively from the representation of palm trees in Assyrian art.
            To veryify this, look at the "hieroglyphs" from Esarhaddon's stone stele
            <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/photos/view/10ee?b=1> where the
            "sacred tree" appears as the third symbol in the top register and an
            everyday, garden-variety date palm appears as the third symbol in the
            bottom register (note also the "sacred tree" on the altar with the horned
            crown that comprises the first symbol in the top register). Similarly,
            compare the palm tree and "sacred tree" on earrings recovered from the
            royal tombs at Kalhu (Nimrud)
            <http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/photos/view/10ee?b=3>.

            Finally, if the network surrounding the "sacred tree" represents grape
            vines, one might expect that at least one representation would show a
            bunch of grapes or some grape leaves rather than the fruits or leaves that
            regularly appear. The last (or at least the most recent) word on this is
            J. Andrew McDonald, "Botanical Determination of the Middle Eastern Tree of
            Life," <i>Economic Botany</i> 56 (2002), 113-29. This article is
            available online, but a subscription is required.


            Bob Whiting
            whiting@...


            > > wrwmattfeld <mattfeld12@...> wrote: When excavations
            > > uncovered Assyrian palaces in the 19th century some
            > > scholars suggested that the "sacred trees" being adored by the
            > > Assyrian kings might be behind the Garden of Eden's Tree of Life.
            > > One thing that has always puzzeled me was the intricate vine tendril
            > > motif surrounding these highly stylized date-palms (?).
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