On Mon, 10 Jul 2006, palbenda wrote:
> --- In ANEemail@example.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"
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
> 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)
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.
> > 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 (?).