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Cult Socle

unknown1243 BCE - 1207 BCE

Pergamonmuseum, National Museums in Berlin

Pergamonmuseum, National Museums in Berlin

This socle with relief carving was found in the Temple of Ishtar at Ashur. It probably stood against a wall, supporting a symbolic representation of the god venerated as part of the cult. Such a divine symbol is shown on the front of the stone socle: a rectangular writing-table with stylus, which stands on an almost identical socle with stepped base and projecting ears on both sides at the top. Table and stylus are symbols of Nabu, god of writing (but see the discussion of the inscription below). While the picture field of the socle in the relief is undecorated, the surface of the actual socle has a standing and a kneeling human figure worshipping at the socle. The iconography of the two figures is identical in every respect: a bearded man with a mace in the left hand, in a long robe with fringed hem, with a narrow belt, and wearing jewellery. From the inscription on the base of the socle it appears that King Tukulti-Ninurta I is here shown in two postures or phases of prayer. Part of the inscription, which is incomplete, reads: 'Cult socle of the god Nusku, of the grand vizier, of the Temple of E-Kur … which eternally represents the prayer of Tukulti-Ninurta (I).'

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